Kokanee salmon have returned to Penticton waterways for their annual run, a perfect opportunity for the public to spot the fish on their life cycle's final journey.
Bright red salmon are returning home to their birthplace to spawn, highly visible in Penticton Creek especially.
The fish will lay eggs in the gravel bottom — part of ongoing restoration work on the creek specifically tailored to restoring natural fish habitat — and the eggs will hatch in the spring to be washed into adjacent lakes for several years before returning to spawn.
The time is perfect to view the Kokanee as they spawn, and while long-term plans from the City of Penticton include a a public viewing platform to make it even easier to get up-close and personal with salmon, there are still plenty of great spots to spot the fish.
According to the City, the best places to view this year are along Penticton Creek between Okanagan Lake and Nanaimo Avenue, as well as just above the foot bridge at Wade Avenue. The spawn will reach its height between Sept. 20 and 25, though some fish may linger into the end of the month.
Sockeye salmon will also soon return to the Okanagan River Channel. They have a different life cycle than their freshwater Kokanee cousins, travelling through the Columbia River all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back to spawn.
They will be in the Channel in mid to late October.
Find out more about the salmon run in Penticton and efforts from the City and the Okanagan Nation Alliance to preserve and enhance it here.