October is a fantastic time to visit Shuswap Lake. Not only do you have the beautiful fall colours to admire, but also the seasonal salmon spawn takes place – up to three and a half million sockeye salmon return to this area to spawn some years. This year is not a dominant run, but there are still salmon to be seen at the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, a section of the river is dedicated to the famous British Columbia fly fisherman, naturalist, and author. On Wednesdays and Sundays free interpretative walks are hosted by the Adam's River Salmon Society between 10 am and 4pm. On Thanksgiving weekend (October 6th, 7th and 8th) there are additional walks at 10am, 12:30pm and 3pm.
During the first three weeks of October the salmon return from the ocean back to their birthplace to lay their eggs and die. In the spring the eggs hatch and the fish spend their first year in the fresh waters of Shuswap Lake. The small salmon will then migrate down the Thompson and Fraser Rivers to the Pacific Ocean. They spend the next three years in salt water swimming as far as Japan. In their fourth year they return to their spawning grounds, making the almost 500km trip in less than three weeks. As the sockeye make their journey they stop eating and their bodies undergo an amazing transformation. Their silver bodies turn a deep red and their heads turn green. The males develop green hump backs and hooked snouts. Though other species of salmon change colour, no others changes as dramatic as the sockeye.
During the 2010 run estimates by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the Adams River were 3,866,600 fish. In some parts of the river during the run the salmon are packed like sardines, stacked one on top of the other. The top salmon are pushed out of the water and birds sit on their backs. The water around the salmon becomes so turbulent it looks like it is boiling. As the salmon move up the Adams River they will pair off to spawn. For every 4,000 eggs they lay only two adults will return to repeat the cycle. After laying their eggs the fish will die. Their bodies are an important part of the food chain for other animals; eagles and ospreys feed off of the dead salmon and at night the bears and coyotes will come out to feed.
Situated right on Shuswap Lake, HI-Shuswap Lake is your perfect base from where to see this amazing event. But this area is not just all about the salmon! There are plenty of other things to see and do. Take a Segway tour, go ziplining, visit the pumpkin patch at Pete Murray’s Farmin Chase or sample some wine at the three local wineries - Celista Estate, Recline Ridge and Granite Creek. The hostel offers free use of their canoes so guests can enjoy the lake. From the hostel you can take a short walk to see the beaver's lodge, along the way you may even see bald eagles, ospreys, bears and deer. On October 6th, the hostel will be offering a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mash potatoes, local vegetables and of course pumpkin or apple pie. There is a vegetarian option available. The dinner costs $10.00 for members and $12 for non-members. Reservations recommended.
Image: Tourism B.C.
HI-Shuswap Lake is one of the most unique hostels in Canada, with some of the accommodation housed in a train caboose! And the hostel is well known for itspancake breakfast with real maple syrup, whole grain pancake mix, and organic fruit for only $4.50 for members and $5.00 for non-members. HI-Shuswap Lake is offering these two fantastic deals during October, 2012: