Celebrate the 2022 Adams River sockeye run

Sockeye salmon return to the Adams River every fall to spawn. This year, millions of salmon are expected to return to the Adams as 2022 is a dominant year in the four-year sockeye abundance cycle.

Adams River sockeye begin their upstream migration home from the open ocean in early September. They travel great lengths along their journey, starting from the Pacific Ocean, through the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, and finally, arrive at the Adams River to spawn in early October.

Side channels in the Adams River are key spawning habitat for sockeye salmon, but changes in river flows and gravel and debris buildup have blocked some of these productive side channel habitats.

Satellite and imagery calculations from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) estimate that the lower portion of the Adams River had previously lost somewhere between 33 to 50 per cent of ideal sockeye spawning habitat.

In 2020, the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) provided $139,000 to support rehabilitation work to recover lost habitat, restore side channels, and ultimately improve productivity for spawning sockeye salmon. PSF accessed these funds thanks to a grant from the province of British Columbia.

The restoration was led by the DFO Habitat Restoration team and supported by the Little Shuswap Lake First Nation, BC Parks and local contractors. Work took place throughout 2020 and was further refined in 2022. The project successfully removed debris blocking the side channels and used natural materials to stabilize the river bank. This project improved the quality of a significant amount of high-value salmon spawning habitat and facilitated access to prime spawning areas.

Additionally, this work protected a public-access salmon viewing platform installed by BC Parks, which PSF supported in 2014 with a $50,000 contribution.

Before and after photos of the Adams River side channel habitat restoration work completed in 2020.

Salute to the Sockeye

The Salute to the Sockeye festival, presented by the Adams River Salmon Society, is a three-week celebration of the dominant Adams sockeye run. From Sept. 30 to Oct. 23, 2022, join the festivities at Tsútswecw Provincial Park.

The festival features a variety of family-friendly events, educational interpretive programs, cultural activities, local vendors and artists, and opportunities to watch the salmon run from the viewing platform and walking trails.

Don’t miss out on the 2022 Salute to the Sockeye festival – the next celebration won’t take place for another four years. For more information, visit here.