With the drastic decline in Sockeye Salmon stock this year, as well as the closure of Sockeye fishing in certain areas of the province, conservation has become an issue at the forefront of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. On a recent trip with University of Northern British Columbia’s Fish and Wildlife Club, I was able to have a front seat view at the efforts that Fisheries and Oceans is taking in preserving the Sockeye Salmon. Located on Babine Lake, outside of Burns Lake, British Columbia, the Pinkut Creek Spawning Channels are a work of art. As we walk from our vehicles down to the grounds, we witnessed channels packed with male, female and jack sockeye. The channels lined up and down for hundreds of yards and were groomed to become the perfect ground for the salmon to place there redds, which is where their eggs are laid and fertilized.
With only so many salmon allowed to spawn in each channel due to the risk of redd disruption, holding gates were placed to ensure only a certain amount of sockeye were allowed into each channel. On each side of the gates, there was also pens filled with small and large sockeye that were free to leave and enter as they pleased.
From there we made our way over to the main intake to the channels. A large bridge spanned from each side of the creek and on both sides once again, there was thousands of Sockeye Salmon and on the lake side, Rainbow Trout feasting on the eggs of the females. After finishing our tour of the facility we packed it in and drove back to Prince George. The Pinkut Spawning Channels are truly a treat. With the efforts being put in to maintain a healthy Sockeye population the channels are something that ever fisherman or wildlife enthusiast should experience.