|2006 Adams River Sockeye Run
Every four years is the dominant year for the Sockeye run to the Adams River in British Columbia. 15 million Sockeye return to British
Columbia in an attempt to swim 500 kilometers up the Fraiser River to the 12 kilometer long Adams River. Half of these fish will be
caught by commercial fishermen. Of those that survive the fishermen, approximately two million Sockeye will make it to the Adams
river to spawn (with a peak level of 3.4 million in 2002).
The second smallest of the five species of Pacific salmon, the Sockeye weigh an average of three kilograms when they leave the
Pacific on their 17 day journey to the Adams river. They travel an average of 30 kilometres a day and do not feed once they enter the
river. As the upstream battle consumes their body fat and tissues, the deep-sea blue-gray bodies gradually change to a brilliant
crimson. To make it to the Fraser, they must swim numerous rapids as well as the most infamous Hell's Gate Rapids.
As they near the Adams River, the female choses a mate. In the picture below, the female is in the front of the picture. The male
develops an arched back as it goes upstream.
The first three photos were taken
underwater with a simple Canon camera
housed in an underwater case made by
When a suitable location is found, the female digs a nest from 10 to 40 cm deep. The female deposits approximately 3,500 pinkish
eggs to which the male adds a whitish milt to fertilize them. The Sockeye then cover the eggs with loose gravel. However, the process
can be clumsy leaving some exposed eggs such as seen in the small photo below.
The front fish in the photo below is a