Over the past few weeks, news of the Adams River Sockeye run has been coming at us via TV, radio and through rave reviews from excited friends who have visited the river. Apparently this year is a "dominant" year, and 35 million fish are expect to make the run. So we took a Sunday drive up to the Shuswap to see this spectacular sight.
The Adams River sockeye run is known around the world as a "miracle of nature". Since the Discovery channel, National Geographic and huge buses full of Taiwanse tourists were there, I tend to believe that.
Imagine you're a sockeye salmon. After 4 years of hanging out on the west coast, you feel the urge to leave the wide open saltiness of the Pacific Ocean to swim up the (freshwater) Fraser River along with 35 million of your brothers and sisters. Unlike many of your brethren, you carefully avoid the nets and hooks of the overjoyed local fishermen.
From here you battle your way upstream though fierce rapids and waterfalls to the Thompson River where you body starts to turn a bright scarlet red! Your head turns green and your whole body starts changing shape! You don't want to eat and people no longer want to eat you!
Once you enter the Shuswap Lake System you head for the Adams River, where you were hatched four years earlier. You have come here to reproduce and die. You have a one-in-five chance of succeeding, but you'll die regardless. Your dead body will rot alongside the other spawning sockeye which will create a stench that will attract bears, birds and other predators.
You were born an orphan, and you'll die childless.
A few months later, your babies will be born, and they'll feast on their ancestors decaying bodies and in a year, once they're strong enough, they'll make the epic journey, covering over 400km, (250 miles) to the Pacific ocean. Such is the life of an Adams River Sockeye Salmon!