Conditions good for Okanagan sockeye salmon run

Rainy weather in the Okanagan is keeping things cool for migrating salmon.

John Hall

John Hall

Rain may not be our first choice for weather in the summertime, but it’s a different story for other species.

“It’s good for the salmon,” said Howie Wright, fisheries biologist with the Okanagan First Nations Fisheries Department. The weather conditions, he explained, are keeping the temperatures a bit lower in the Okanagan River making favourable conditions for the run, which is predicted to see 196,000 sockeye return this year.

On July 14, the Syilx began their food fishery, and Wright said the run is strong enough that they expect to open up recreational and economic fisheries in August.

Wright said they did have a difference of opinion with a local landowner, Melody Walker, while they were gill netting sockeye in the river below the Okanagan Falls dam.

Walker claims the First Nations fishers, which included Kruger, were trespassing on her land, and has been protesting since 2011.

“The land immediately south of the dam on the east side of the river is our private property and I will defend the same from trespassers,” wrote Walker in an email forwarded to the media. “I will deal with trespassers and if threatened or assaulted (as I have been in the past, dealing with people involved with fishing illegally below the dam) I will call the police and the media.”

Wright said he wasn’t concerned.

“There are some local landowner issues, which is actually not from the fishing, but is more a province interpretation of what is Crown land and in her own mind what is private property,” said Wright, adding that the crew came and went through the river channel, not over land.

“I think the only thing she said is we had our rope and our gear in her property,” said Wright.

More information: 7 Day and YTD Adult Fish Counts