“ONA’s mandate is the conservation, restoration, and enhancement of aquatic resources,” said our tour leader Zeke Terbasket, explaining how salmon are raised from egg to fry every year and then released into creeks and streams when wild fry are hatching, matching the natural lifecycle. “This will help create a healthy ecosystem; it’s a way of monitoring that the environment is doing as well.”
The hatchery has incubation rooms and raceways, high-tech resources to get the fish to 3-5 grams in size. “Late September to early October is where the salmon run occurs. It’s a 1,300-km journey from the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Okanagan River in Oliver. They have to hop over 13 different dams to make it this way.”
Like the salmon making their way through the region's network of lakes and rivers, I travelled north to Kelowna - an ideal hub for any Okanagan adventure, and education.
It’s a long journey, but a very important one for the lifecycle of the salmon, and the lakes and rivers.