Chilliwack Fish Hatchery Visit

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fishing Forum' started by FishDoc, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. FishDoc

    FishDoc Active Member

    The Chilliwack Fish Hatchery is a Fisheries Enhancement Facility and it is open to public during week days until 3:30 PM. During the salmon runs which are generally in the fall you can watch salmon swimming up the river, jumping over obstacles and into hatchery tanks where they wait to spawn. Its a very nice facility and a great place to get nice and close to these amazing fish. Get out there and see pink salmon, chum salmon, Coho Salmon, and Chinook salmon. This will be a brief overview of what you can see in person. If you are visiting Chilliwack British Columbia this may be something you'd like to check out. Just follow the Vedder or Chilliwack River until you arrive. I hope you enjoyed the video and keep on watching.

    Sir Reel and bigdogeh like this.
  2. trophywife

    trophywife Well-Known Member

    is this the inch creek hatchery? i have only been there?

    thanks for the vid. Kids wanna go!
  3. ILHG

    ILHG Well-Known Member

    Very cool! I would love to check that out.

    So what happens to the fish when they enter those pens? Are they selected & then used at the hatchery? Lastly why was the hatchery worker only taking some fish & selecting through them?
  4. FishDoc

    FishDoc Active Member

    Here is the information off their website. This is not the Inch Creek Hatchery.

    Chilliwack River Hatchery
    The Chilliwack River Hatchery was built in 1981 to help restore salmon populations to historic levels. The Chilliwack River watershed has, over several decades, been subjected to impacts that had reduced salmon productivity and sustainability. The hatchery maintains salmon populations for commercial, sport and First Nations fisheries. It is also involved in public and community education, stewardship and support for various government agencies (including habitat restoration), fish management, stock assessment and science research. Furthermore, as a result of sustaining fish populations, local and national economies benefit from this Canadian salmon resource.

    From Highway 1, about 100 kilometres east of Vancouver, take exit 119. Head south on Vedder Road through the communities of Sardis and Vedder Crossing until you come to the Vedder Crossing Bridge. Turn left onto Chilliwack Lake Road immediately before the bridge. Continue on Chilliwack Lake Road for 20 kilometres until you cross the Slesse Creek Bridge; the Chilliwack River Hatchery is on the immediate left. Public parking access is 100 metres further up the main road. Parking for the disabled is through the main gate.

    Visiting the Hatchery
    Public tours are self-guided and the loop trail of the hatchery site will take 30 minutes to complete. School group tours and viewing of adult salmon migration, holding, trapping, sorting and spawning can be arranged by phoning (604) 858-7227. The site is paved, with lots of public parking and wheelchair access. Public washrooms are located besides the Egg Take Shelter building.

    When can I see salmon?
    Species Dates
    chinook adults August to November
    coho adults October to December
    steelhead adults March to April
    coho juveniles all year
    chinook juveniles February to April
    Discus, kingblazer84 and bigdogeh like this.
  5. FishDoc

    FishDoc Active Member

    Yeah once the fish are in those runs I think they let them mature and then when ready for spawning they collect the fish for eggs and milt. The fish that aren't going to be used and then ones that they are done with apparently are given to the Native population in the valley for food.

    I talked to the guys after I took some video and they were selecting a certain number of Coho males and females to take to Cultus Lake where they have experiments ongoing including fish ladders and fish tunnels and slides and shoots... Apparently they only wanted the coho. So they were throwing the pinks and chinooks back over the fence. So those fish they collected were not for spawning just experimentation in developing better river enhancement and fish transport methods.

    I went back a couple weeks later and got some more video and there were way more fish and they were jumping like crazy. I'll have to put that one together I think its even more fun to watch.
    ILHG and bigdogeh like this.
  6. ILHG

    ILHG Well-Known Member

    One last question....

    All the juvenile salmon with the mesh coverings. Are those holding pens where they are raised? Are they fed?
  7. FishDoc

    FishDoc Active Member

    Yeah that's the holding pens when they are raised once a certain size. I'm pretty sure they feed them but I haven't seen them feeding them. There is no way there is enough food in there though just naturally to support hundreds of thousands of smolts. So they have to be fed. I've been to other hatcheries and they actually have electronic feeders over the pens. This must be hand delivered.
    ILHG likes this.
  8. kingblazer84

    kingblazer84 Well-Known Member

    looks like a nice setup we need more of these hatcherys around to get the salmon populations back
  9. california

    california Well-Known Member

    There are already well over 100 hatcheries on BC rivers, over 20 large facilities, with well over $1billion being spent since the program was started in the 70s, and only declining overall runs and virtual extinction of wild populations of fish on many of those rivers to show for it. The Chilliwack hatchery was set up due to the destruction of the natural river by diking and channeling its lower reaches, and extensive forestry activity in its watershed. Let's never repeat the need for a Chilliwack river hatchery. Fortunately the Government has figured out these very expensive facilities provide a very poor return on the money invested, and are unlikely to build more.
    Dave H, kingblazer84 and Dave like this.
  10. trophywife

    trophywife Well-Known Member

    why are ranches so successful in AK? because they raise the smolts longer to ensure returns? something simple our govt cannot figure out?
  11. california

    california Well-Known Member

    Fortunately the Canadian government isn't likely to start doing that. There are entire forums here expressing concerns about releasing farmed fish to the environment. You want to the government to build even more fish farms, raise the fish up to their last year of life, with all the issues farming has, and then RELEASE THEM ALL into the environment to compete with wild fish, and perhaps infect them with fish farm diseases? The Alaska model is most intensive in raising Chums and pinks (there are significant concerns about the wild pink stocks in Prince William Sound being replaced) and less so coho and chinook. Alaskan "ranched" fish don't migrate into BC waters their final summer, so are only caught by Alaskans. Even if DFO were to start this, and only for Chinook and Coho, you do realize that those stocks migrate into Alaskan waters, and would be fished hard by Alaskans in the early season fishery, Very little of the Alaskan Chinook take is from Alaskan bred fish. I'm sure Alaskan fisherman would be very supportive of this plan. Its a plan that gives up on wild salmon in favour of farmed ones, poses environmental risks, will be very expensive, will probably entail contracting out the ocean net pen part to Norwegian fish farm operators, so more profit for them, and will benefit Alaskan commercial fisherman perhaps more than anyone. Do you really think if this were done Sport fisherman are going to be the main benefactors? Sporties would be last after FN and commies.
    Dave H likes this.
  12. SpringVelocity

    SpringVelocity Well-Known Member

    OMG. This thread derailed. Thanks for sharing anyway. I would rather see these than theories of how hatcheries are evil. Seems to be a theme on here lately.
    ILHG and Whitebuck like this.
  13. trophywife

    trophywife Well-Known Member

    California sure has put many words in my mouth. thanks for the education . lol,,, you assume too much of others little knowledge. i would love to see hatcheries be more effective. orca food and catches for all sectors. even alaskans... i assume you know that we catch their hatch fish and appreciate it. Maybe next time answer what is asked , not what you want to spout.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  14. Fins -n- Skins

    Fins -n- Skins Well-Known Member

  15. Reel Time

    Reel Time Active Member

    x3 ^
  16. calmsea

    calmsea Well-Known Member

    Best returns on the island in 2017 seem to be Nootka and Cowichan, both enhanced systems. On the mainland, lower Fraser, also enhanced. Hm. But hatcheries are SOOO bad... Laughable. I for one thank the many volunteers and the few DFO staff left at the few DFO hatcheries for their dedicated work ensuring that our salmon are not wiped out yet like in a number of streams already that no one seemed to care about.
    RevyFisher and Whitebuck like this.
  17. california

    california Well-Known Member

    Maybe read some of the research on the Cowichan, its the best studied of the SoG rivers. There is tons of it essentially showing the survival of the chinook hatchery smolts is so low vs the naturally spawned ones that they estimate each pair taken for the hatchery produces no more returning fish than if they were left to spawn on their own despite the huge costs associated with artificially spawning them and tank raising their progeny. The evidence on the Cowichan recent success is pretty clear that it is due to excellent rehabilitative work and much better management of water flows. The run was dying with the hatchery before those initiatives.

    There are mountains of evidence of the issues with hatcheries from genetic issues (signficant genetic variations start to occur after 1 generation). Your simple minded belief that pumping out more franken smolts means more fish has not been born out after 40 years of the hatchery programs from here to northern california. The early success of hatcheries on the Columbia was a particularly cruel phenomena, as it led to the SEP and large scale industrial hatcheries, which at the time most were probably not necessary. The more damaging aspect was the erroneous belief that our artificial smolt factories could replace the natural spawning processes. This helped allow the rape of watersheds for logging and other developments, because we can always just produce more smolts right? . Well it hasn't worked out that way, the ecosystem has adapted, and now its a big surprise that after multiple generations, the inbred, tank raised, overfed hatchery smolt survival rates have plummeted due to a variety of factors as we pumped out more and more of them.

    A system like the Cowichan, that is well studied, has returns above the targeted escapement would be an excellent one to scale back the hatchery production gradually with the goal of returning it to a natural state. It can serve as a model for how rivers and the ecosystem surrounding it can be rehabilitated. realistically that wont happen.

    Are hatcheries SOOO bad. Well yes, they are doing substantial damage particularly to wild stocks that is well documented. And no, as the damage we did necessitated some of them being built, many small community based enhancement projects that do not operate on an industrial scale have been helpful. Some river systems have no hope of ever being rehabilitated as they have been damaged beyond repair, your beloved hatcheries will never be able to come off them so don't worry, they aren't going away. Even on systems where they aren't doing any good they aren't going to go away, politically its much easier to just keep them running regardless if they are helpful or not, than to explain the science behind why they are trying to phase them out. Imagine trying to explain that science to thousands and thousands (millions) of people with little scientific of ecological background. For the vast majority of voters it needs to fit into no more than 15 seconds of sound bite or a page of text. So again, don't let your panties get too knotted up about my statements of factory smolt production being reduced anytime soon. Besides, we need to keep spending $millions feeding all the SoG seals with these nice fat dumb smolts they have learned to survive on! Cut off the easy smolt meals and the seal population could crash.
    Dave likes this.
  18. Fishtofino

    Fishtofino Well-Known Member

    What wild stock? Most Southern Chinook stocks seem to be of hatchery origin now from what i can see.
  19. Reel Time

    Reel Time Active Member

    You just need to mix up the broad stock. Wild salmon come in, selected for broad stock. Those hatchery produced stock return years later and majority spawn as Wild returns. Its not a reason to worry. Aquaculture industries rely on the collapse of wild salmon to promote themselves. Especially in BC where they should never be allowed to farm. Maybe wrong forum topic to be posting here. But since it was hijacked, it gets tiring listening to anti-hatchery sentiment. ie: steelhead recovery has been crucial to sustain native genetics to SVI rivers, of course you want them to be able to start rearing in the wild in greater numbers, which I agree habitat rehab is crucial while hatcheries sustain existence.
    agentaqua likes this.
  20. Reel Time

    Reel Time Active Member

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