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Horsefly Salmon Festival celebrates and educates alongside returning salmon

Event draws crowd to the shores of the river as salmon return to spawn

It was a beautiful day in Horsefly, B.C. for the Salmon Festival on Sept. 10 and the salmon came to the river alongside the people on shore.

The event is organized by the Horsefly River Roundtable and brought in partners from all over to educate people about the importance of watershed health and the role of salmon in the ecosystem.

There were booths for information and activities hosted by organizations from all over working to help support the salmon populations in different, interconnected ways as well as Tolko Industries Ltd. to provide information on logging planned in the area.

Baker Creek Enhancement Society, a group working out of Quesnel, would see the same salmon go past Baker Creek en route up towards Horsefly, was doing fish dissection and talking salmon life cycle and anatomy.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation had a booth and are working with a number of local organizations to help reconnect salmon streams by removing fish barriers. Sarah Sra of Coquitlam and Betty Rebellato of Vancouver Island were up for the weekend to provide information and engage with the community.

Their booth featured casts of prints for people to try and identify as well as an activity where people had to prioritize a list of endangered species, including salmon. The print which stumped people the most was the snapping turtle.

Invasive Species Council of BC had an information booth focused on aquatic invasive species, with information on how they support volunteers by providing resources for invasive species-related projects. They also had wallet cards for identifying some aquatic invasive species which threaten native species.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans had a booth with information on salmon and insects as well and the life cycle of the salmon and Wild Safe BC had an educational booth helping visitors learn more on how to support healthy wild life and prevent bear problems.

There were more booths, some vendors selling locally made items and live music as well as ceremony by Williams Lake First Nation elder Ernie Edward Archie.

While there were fish in the river as the festival took place, so far the numbers have not reached the expected return estimates of around 600,000, though there is still time for more to make their way up into the system.

The event ran for both Saturday and Sunday, with beautiful sunshine and clear skies on Saturday and a bit of smoky haze in the air on Sunday, but still fair weather.

Read more: Horsefly Salmon Festival expects big fun and lots of fish

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Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

After moving back to Williams Lake, where I was born and graduated from school, I joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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