Heavy rain brought an influx of salmon to Little Campbell Hatchery.

First rain brings surge of salmon

More than 1,000 fish went through the Little Campbell Hatchery in South Surrey

The weekend downpour was a boon to salmon, who took advantage of rising river levels to flood the Little Campbell Hatchery in South Surrey.

Hatchery manager Bob Oswald said the runoff from the rain into the Little Campbell River meant the arrival of 240 Chinook and 840 Coho on Saturday and Sunday.

“If it gets up to 20 or 40 millimetres (of rain), that’ll really get them going,” Oswald said.

Volunteers sorted through the fish, looking for notches on fins that indicate they came from the hatchery.

Only about five per cent were from the hatchery, Oswald estimates, but he expects more to show up in the weeks to come.

By Tuesday, without the heavy rain to keep levels up, the flow of fish had become a trickle with less than a dozen a day.

The river will require progressively less rain to maintain levels as the parched ground gets soaked and sops up less runoff, Oswald said.

“We’ve been so dry.”

A steel fish fence across the river immediately in front of the hatchery funnels all spawning salmon and trout into a trap where club members count and identify them by species before releasing them to continue up the river.

Over 5,000 spawning salmon are counted at the fence annually.


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