Spawning celebrated at Kikinee

Mission Creek event showcased spawning and loads of children’s events

A small number of kokanee salmon made an appeareance Sunday for the Kikinee Salmon Festival at Mission Creek park.

What was more robust in number were children celebrating the salmon spawn with drumming, dancing around to bag-pipes, getting their faces painted and learning a little bit about the watery journey salmon take on.

Like their saltwater cousins, kokanee return to their place of birth to lay eggs and die and the Okanagan Lake stream-spawning kokanee are returning to their spawning grounds, which takes place between August to October.

So far, there hasn’t been any concern with the anticipated number of salmon, said Tara White, senior fisheries biologist with the ministry of forests, lands and natural resource operations.

“High spring flows resulted in significant bed load movement and deposition in a number of the Okanagan Lake tributaries,” said White, noting fisheries staff has also been monitoring water levels to ensure salmon have access to the spawning grounds.

There are two types of kokanee in the Okanagan region, White said. The stream spawning salmon average around 33 centimetres in size while shore spawning salmon average around 22 cm.

“The stream spawning kokanee are found in all of the tributaries to Okanagan Lake including Mission creek, Peachland creek, Trepanier creek, Powers and Penticton creeks to name a few. They currently may be seen milling around the creek mouths and getting ready to move upstream,” said White.