Gasps and joyful outbursts can be heard down the paths of Goldstream Provincial Park as the salmon run is underway.
A handful of salmon could be seen swimming and flopping their way through the popular tourist spot on Sunday afternoon.
In fact, thousands are returning to local waters for one of the biggest natural phenomenons in the south Island.
“They’ve come a long way to get here because we’re one of the last rivers they swim through,” Tracey Bleakley, park naturalist with RLC Park Services previously told Black Press Media. “To see all these adult salmon, it’s truly a spectacle. They’re just so huge.”
Every year, an estimated 30,000 salmon make their way through Goldstream Provincial Park. Many salmon have travelled thousands of kilometres over their four-year lifespan to return to the same waters they were born in. Salmon are known to have magnetite in their bodies, which gives them the ability to feel magnetic north and have a successful migration.
Jeff Nisi and Trudy Curran from East Sooke have yet to spot a salmon with their own eyes this season, but dropped by the park for a walk with their dog, Marley.
“I wanted to come here before I move back to Australia,” said Kate Birch, who’s been living in Victoria for two years, but came to see the salmon run for the first time. “My friend brought me here to give me the local tourist experience.”
The spawning season lasts from late October to early December. Over that time, thousands of chum salmon return to Goldstream to spawn and then die.
Visitors are encouraged to bring polarized sunglasses to see the fish without the glare from the water. Also, avoid wearing brightly-coloured clothing, such as reds, purples, or pinks as salmon can see those very well.
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