Home » An up close look at a Kokanee run

Posted: October 5, 2019

An up close look at a Kokanee run

Have you ever watched Kokanee salmon spawning in East Kootenay waterways?

It is truly one of the unique aspects of wildlife in our region and the southern interior of British Columbia.

“The kokanee is unique. It is actually a descendant of anadromous (sea-going) sockeye salmon, but once it has residualized in freshwater, it is known as a kokanee,” describes the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C.

Some kokanee populations occur naturally in lakes that have, or have had, connections to sockeye that migrate through them. Others have been stocked, on the recommendations of regional biologists, by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.

“Kokanee need special conditions to flourish in lakes, the main ingredient being zooplankton. This is not only a valuable nutrient for freshwater invertebrates, but the kokanee’s main food source. Combining this with an optimum growing habitat, which several Interior lakes can provide, may result in kokanee weighing two kilograms or more.”

A kokanee spawning run turns creeks a blood red, occurring between August and October, in tributaries of the Columbia and Kootenay rivers.

Recently, two professional videographers from Alberta filmed a Kokanee run near Jaffray and graciously shared it with e-KNOW.

“We spent our summer out in the East Kootenay and our friends showed us this spot near Jaffray to watch kokanee salmon moving up the stream.  This was about two weeks ago.  I had never seen this before (although my husband had) so we decided to film it with our camera, Gopro, and drone for fun and post it on Facebook and share with our friends at our Tie Lake community,” said Debbie Dunning of  Dunning Imagery.

Video submitted by Debbie Dunning

Lead image:Kokanee spawn in Perry Creek Sept. 22. Ian Cobb/ e-KNOW photo


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