How to Thrive Like a Fry

What makes good nursery habitat for salmon fry?

May 27, 2022

At the Buck Creek Hatchery and Nature Centre, A Rocha’s Northern BC project, week by week, we have been caring for the coho salmon. These salmon are raised from eggs taken from adults found in the Upper Bulkley River in the fall of 2021. They hatched from eggs into alevin, and are now at the fry stage. As such, on June 11, 2022, we will welcome members of the community to help us release fry into Buck Creek as part of our public fry release event.

A Quiet Place

Did you know that the coho fry we release will spend another full year in the river? Then they become smolts and, along with the smolts that hatched in the wild, will start migrating down the Upper Bulkley, Bulkley, and Skeena Rivers to the Pacific Ocean and grow to be adults. Helping these fry thrive during their first 2 years of life is an important step in our goal of boosting salmon stocks. During their time in the river, salmon fry thrive where there is suitable nursery habitat: quiet sheltered areas in streams where they feed off insects and gain biomass. Coho salmon fry in particular are known to favour habitats connected to streams such as wetlands or old oxbows.

Sampling Juveniles

This summer, the Conservation Science team at the Buck Creek Hatchery and Nature Centre will perform a sampling study of juvenile salmon in wetlands and off-channel habitats along the Upper Bulkley River and some of its tributary creeks. We will assess the suitability of the existing habitat and whether fish are living there. As always, we are grateful that we received funding from the Pacific Salmon Foundation to help make this project possible.

Restoring Habitat

Preserving side channels and wetlands that are accessible to fish is extremely important to support the Upper Bulkley River salmon populations. Sufficient tree cover provides protection and shade, keeping the water cool and encouraging insect populations which are a food source for salmon. Furthermore, protecting connectivity between these habitats allows fish to migrate in and out as needed. This summer, we will begin assessing if these needs are being met and if there is any need for restoration of suitable nursery habitats.   

If you are interested in joining us as a volunteer on our juvenile sampling project, stay tuned for updates on the Buck Creek Hatchery & Nature Centre Facebook Group.

Release a Fish!

Say Goodbye Fry

Do you want to help restore coho salmon populations in the Upper Bulkley? Come to the Goodbye Fry event on June 11!
  • Sat. June 11, 10am – 12 pm
  • Houston, BC @ Buck Creek Canfor Hatchery & Nature Centre
Release a Fish!