About the Fraser River Sockeye run


Fraser River Sockeye Salmon

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(edited from D.F.O. Communications Branch publications)

The mouth of the Horsefly River is 760 km by water upstream from the mouth of the Fraser River at Steveston. Averaging 27 km a day, sockeye that elude the nets of the fishermen make this trip in about 28 days. From Hell’s Gate the sockeye continue their journey up the Fraser River. They swim past the mouths of both the Thompson and Chilco Rivers to the mouth of the Quesnel River (at Quesnel B.C.). They make their way up the Quesnel River to the mouth of the Horsefly River and continue up the Horsefly River to the spawning channel at Horsefly, B.C.

Upstream Ascent of the Adults

Once past the commercial fishing grounds, normally located in the lower parts of a river or in its estuarial areas, and where from around 50 to 85% of the run is removed, the sockeye embark upon their stream ascent.

Sockeye, in common with other Pacific salmon species’ do not feed once they enter fresh water. Therefore, for sustenance during the several months of fasting, for development of the sex products, and for energy to make the long and grueling stream ascent, they must rely on the reserves of fats and proteins stored up within the body during the period of ocean residence. The general view is that, in its evolution, each stock of salmon has significance in the case of long river systems, perhaps outstandingly represented by the Fraser River, where the natural spawning areas in tributary river systems occur all the way from some 80 km to 1,126 km from the mouth of the Fraser River.


“In-Season Fraser River Escapement Reports

The Pacific Salmon Commission provides regular estimates of in-season gross escapement of Fraser River sockeye and pink salmon moving past Mission (i.e. typically between June and September). These gross escapement numbers represent the total of the number of fish available both for catch and for spawning above Mission.”

View Fraser River Sockeye Escapement by Stock Group (PDF File)

See more reports on PSC Website

Fisheries and Oceans Canda Sockeye Salmon Information

British Columbia Heritage Rivers description of Horsefly River

Wikipedia Sockeye Salmon Article

Fishbase: Oncorhynchus nerka (Sockeye salmon)