The Goldstream River is just one of the many places on Vancouver Island where you can witness a salmon run. Just 17 km’s from downtown Victoria you can see this fascinating event from mid October through to early December. It’s quite an experience and highly educational for children to witness. Goldstream Provincial Park is well worth exploring. Lush ferns cover the ground and the towering trees of an old-growth temperate rain forest have branches that hang with thick moss. It’s a popular hiking area for locals and tourists.
The females select a spot to make a trench in the river bottom. They deposit their eggs while the male waits close by to fertilize them. It’s quite a natural phenomenon if you think about it. At this point the salmon are weak and have traveled thousands of kilometers. After four years of life swimming around the ocean they somehow find their way back to the original stream where they were born.
The fish slowly die, but have left a new generation to carry on. Seagulls are in abundance feeding on the roe and decaying salmon. At night other critters such as raccoon, mink, otter and bear come out to feed. From December to February a large number of Bald Eagles can be seen feeding on the rotting carcasses. Every step of the salmons demise lends something back to nature. As the salmon bodies break down nutrients are released into the forest and stream and eventually taken out to sea. The eggs will hatch in the spring as the temperature warms up and the cycle starts again.