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Top five places to view salmon spawning in the Tri-Cities

Salmon are putting on a great show in local creeks and streams as they return to their home areas to spawn: here are the best family-friendly places to view them
Hoy Creek Hatchery salmon viewing
Viewing salmon at Hoy Creek Hatchery in Coquitlam.

Chum salmon are making their way back to Tri-City creeks, providing a wonderful opportunity to see nature at your back door.

But finding the best viewing sights can be tricky if you’re a newcomer to the area or don’t live near a local creek or stream.

Thankfully, some B.C. salmon experts have put together a list of salmon viewing spots in the Tri-Cities and beyond.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation, a salmon education and conservancy group, has a list of locations on its recent blog.

“Salmon spawning is a true wonder of the natural world. There’s no better way to get outside this season than by adventuring into your own community to witness Pacific salmon spawning in rivers and streams. In building this connection to salmon, our communities can be a part of conservation efforts,” said Michael Meneer, president and CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation in an email to the Tri-City News.

Among the highlights are family friendly locations with clearly marked trails and viewing areas. If you have a favourite spot to share, the foundation would like you to email them.

Here are the top spots to watch salmon spawn in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody:

Hoy Creek Hatchery, Coquitlam

  • Species: Coho, chum
  • Best Times: Adult chum October to November; coho November

You can find spawning coho and chum salmon in Coquitlam at the Hoy Creek hatchery. The City of Coquitlam has information and a handy map that shows you the best locations to view salmon in Hoy Creek Linear Park and nearby Scott Creek. If you park behind the Coquitlam campus of Douglas College (1250 Pinetree Way) you can access Hoy Creek Linear Park and visit the new “Salmon Women Welcomes Salmon Home” carving that was recently installed to celebrate Douglas College’s 50th anniversary and in recognition of their place on traditional Coast Salish territories, in particular the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) First Nation.

Hockaday Park, Coquitlam

  • Species: Coho, chum, sockeye
  • Best Times: Adult chum October-November; coho November; sockeye September

Hockaday Park is a small neighbourhood park located at the end of McTavish Court in Coquitlam. There is a family friendly viewing area and small beach area in the park to view the Coquitlam River. The park also has a climbing structure and swings to enjoy. The rough walking trail to the left of the park provides access along the Coquitlam River to Galette Park about one kilometre away.

Oxbow Side Channel, Port Coquitlam

  • Species: coho, chum, pink salmon (in odd years)
  • Best Times: Adult chum October-November; coho November

This side channel of the Coquitlam River is a secret gem in Port Coquitlam. You can visit the side channel in the fall to see coho and chum as well as other species of fish throughout the year. Access the Oxbow Side Channel through Coquitlam River Park at Shaughnessy Street and Lincoln Avenue.

You can also walk along an extensive trail network to access viewing points along the Coquitlam River.

Hyde Creek Hatchery in Port Coquitlam

  • Species: Coho, chum
  • Best Times: Adult chum October-November; coho November

Chum and coho salmon return to their spawning grounds at Hyde Creek each October and November. The best place to see salmon is to park at the Hyde Creek Recreation Centre and take the trail behind the rec centre along Hyde Creek toward the hatchery. There are several lookout spots and a foot bridge to view returning salmon at the Hyde Creek Recreation Centre (1379 Laurier Ave.) and the Hyde Creek Education Centre & Hatchery (3636 Coast Meridian Rd.) in Port Coquitlam.

Inlet Park & Noons Creek Hatchery, Port Moody

  • Species: Coho, chum, pink
  • Best Times: Adult chum October-November; coho November; pink in odd years

Noons Creek Hatchery is located to the right of the Port Moody Recreation Centre in Inlet Park. The area has many family-friendly walking trails along the creek and to the boardwalk at the end of the Port Moody inlet. The best place to view salmon is to walk past the hatchery building and along the trail that goes under the train tressle to the inlet. There is a small boardwalk that crosses the creek with great view of the inlet and returning salmon. The hatchery has also set up a self-guided Halloween walk for visitors to learn creepy and fun facts about nature. The Port Moody Recreation Centre is located at 300 Ioco Rd.

It’s not just Tri-Cities where you can see nature at work; the salmon are migrating back to creeks and rivers throughout the province.

For more places to view them, visit here.