Get tangled in the delicate foodweb balance associated with the land-locked Kokanee salmon of Kootenay Lake.
There’s a flash of red in the stream just below the surface, and you suddenly realize they are everywhere—The Kokanee salmon are crimson red in their spawning fervor making their way upstream to deposit their eggs in the pebbly stream bottom. Little do they know the grizzly bears, bald eagles, wolves, and other predators are also upstream, awaiting their arrival……Come learn why the delicate “red” food chain balance is difficult to keep in the complicated Kootenay Lake ecosystem.
On The Red Balance, we will be joined by Gillian Sanders, Naturalist and Educator, to learn about the complicated foodweb of Kootenay Lake. We will witness first-hand the crimson spawning Kokanee population at Meadow Creek, before having a nutritious lunch served alongside Duncan Dam at the north end of Kootenay Lake. Bring the whole family to learn through interpretation and fun hands-on activities how to maintain The Red Balance.
As the glaciers retreated from this area ten to twelve thousand years ago, the expansive Kootenay Lake was formed by meltwater, and salmon migrated from Kootenay Lake all the way to the Pacific Ocean every year to spawn. Following a landslide approximately 5000 years ago, the salmon’s oceanic access was blocked. The land-locked Kokanee was born. In the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, the Kootenay Lake supported the largest inland fresh-water fishery in the world. Kokanee along with the huge Gerrard Rainbow Trout, Burbot (freshwater Cod), Dolly Varden (Bull Trout), Northern Pikeminnow, Whitefish, and Sturgeon provided very well for many. The fish would practically jump in the boat. In 2015, following decades of a vibrant recreational fishery, the Kokanee salmon population crashed to 1% of the historic population level, after a series of events that greatly affected the foodweb of the Kootenay Lake. The entire Kootenay Lake fishery crashed along with them, and the waves were witnessed well up the foodchain, even affecting terrestrial species such as the grizzly bear. Although ecovery efforts have been somewhat successful, the delicate foodweb balance of Kootenay Lake provides a unique perspective into the interconnectedness of ecosystem ecology.
Details/Good to Know:
- 10:00 am-2:00 pm
- Length of time: 4 hours (travel time included)
- Physical Challenge Rating: low
- Families welcome
- Held outdoors
- Come prepared for cold, wind, rain
- Lunch and drinks (locally prepared)
- Guided experience and behind-the-scenes access!
- 12 persons max*
- Please contact us for private or special group bookings
- Pricing: Adult: $50 plus GST | Youth 12-16: $35 plus GST | Child 6-11: $25 plus GST
*A minimum number of guests from one or multiple groups are required for this experience to be offered. Please see experience small print.