The 2014 Horsefly River Salmon Festival was a resounding success story.
Marin Patenaude did an excellent job in organizing, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) played a larger than usual role in participation.
Besides the usual dissections and explanations with Judy Hillaby, there was an aquarium with about a dozen small fish from nearby Sucker Creek including some fat rainbow trout that were eating the smaller Coho fry, a couple of Chinook fry, about half a dozen Coho fry and a couple of shiners of unknown origin.
As with all aquariums, the children were fascinated by this as well as the various and sundry aquatic insects and vertebrates, snails and other food the fish ate as part of their diets which were displayed.
Right next to this booth was an environmental demonstration of how the watershed becomes polluted from residential areas or farms near a stream with poor control of domestic drainage.
There was good education being dispensed through DFO, and I was suitably impressed.
The children’s art activities were held in three long tents that were always occupied; the bannock was sensational; there was information about the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council Fishery available; the river was full of fish; and the sun was shining on both Saturday and Sunday.
What a great weekend.
The work done on the accessible salmon trail has made it better than it ever was, there were about 16,000 sockeye spawning in the channel, and another estimated 300,000 in the Horsefly River according to DFO sources.
The water temperature was perfect, and it would seem that the sub dominant year has become the dominant spawning year, so history changed in 2010 when the rest of the province experienced record sockeye runs.
Although the Horsefly sockeye only numbered between 125,000 and 180,000, the survival rate seems to have more than exceeded the norm to account for this year’s return, or there were many five year olds present.
Enough can’t be said about the volunteers from the Horsefly River Roundtable who put this festival together with funding from the DFO, CRD, and Pacific Salmon Foundation.
This was another job well done and executed by our community.