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Every year visitors in Parksville Qualicum Beach marvel as salmon return to the area for spawning. Discover where to spot the salmon runs, what months each species can be found, and other viewing tips.
From late-summer through early-winter in British Columbia, adult chinook, chum, coho, and pink salmon leave the saltwater of the Pacific Ocean and travel hundreds of miles to return to their original hatching grounds. These fish swim upstream while undergoing a variety of physical changes in order to reach their spawning area. This event, known as a salmon run, provides viewers the opportunity to see salmon jump and flip out of the water.
Upon their arrival, females will dig nests along the bottom of the stream and will lay roughly 3,000 eggs while the males fertilize the eggs. After several days both female and male salmon will die, carrying on the circle of life. Salmon spawning draws in birds and other wildlife providing visitors with unique opportunities to see a wide variety of animals.
Salmon runs can be viewed in many different parks and hatcheries surrounding the Parksville Qualicum Beach area. Grab a camera and head to one of these locations for unforgettable views of the salmon run.
Species: Chinook, Chum, Coho, and Pink Salmon
Best Viewing Time: Chinook- September, Chum & Coho- October and November, Pink- July and August
Those who enjoy spending the weekend outdoors can set-up camp at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park. While hiking the trails throughout the park be sure to stop at the crystal-clear pool at the end of the lower falls. This is a great location to pause and watch the salmon spawning.
Species: Chum, Coho, and Chinook Salmon
Best Viewing Time: Chinook- October and November, Chum & Coho- November and December
From late-September until mid-November the rivers and channels at Big Qualicum and Little Qualicum Fish Hatcheries make ideal salmon spawning viewing spots. Visitors can admire different species of salmon as well as a variety of birds and other wildlife viewing at these hatcheries.
Species: Pink Salmon
Best Viewing Time: Late Summer - Early Fall
Exact view times are dependent on the rain and vary annually.
Explore Nile Creek Hatchery and enjoy watching salmon flip and jump out of the water throughout the spawning event. Visitors have spotted black bears, birds, and wolves, as well as other wildlife, at this location during the salmon run.
Species: Coho Salmon
Best Viewing Time: October
Plan a visit to Rosewall Creek Provincial Park during October to admire the vibrant colors of the season. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the idyllic scenes of the spawning salmon set against the richly colored maple leaves.