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Column: Reflecting on changes along the Adams River

Great Outdoors by James Murray

The other day I took a ride out to the Tsútswecw Provincial Park (previously known as Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park) to see if there were any sockeye salmon returning to spawn in the river.

While the main part of the Adams River sockeye salmon run doesn’t actually take place until the latter part of October, I just had to take a look. As I stood there, looking down into the fast flowing waters of the Adams, I found myself contemplating the very future of the salmon run.

I have always found it peaceful there. I just like to walk along the river banks and contemplate, not only the life cycle of the sockeye salmon, but also life in general. As I’ve sauntered along, I’ve even managed to become inspired with an idea or two for a column.

Over the past 60 years I have watched the river change in many ways – like many things in my life, the river is in a constant state of change.

In years past, I have stood at the mouth of the Adams, casting my line to the trout that come to feed on salmon eggs and fry. On one or two occasions I recall hearing a gurgling sound in the water just off to my side. Looking over, I expected to see a large fish rolling on the surface, only to realize what I heard was a part of the sandy shoreline breaking off and falling into the water. The Adams River is slowly, but constantly, changing its banks, meandering back and forth. I remember a few years ago I had an opportunity to fly over the Adams. I was surprised to find out how many channels there now are to the river.

Read more: Column: Adams River salmon run collapse a man-made crisis

Read more: Urgent Adams River restoration work to support salmon run

I have fished the Adams in spots I am no longer allowed access. Pools that once held promise no longer exist, and runs and riffles that on many occasions tested my skill as an angler are now but fond memories. The river has, indeed, changed in so many ways. And yet I find myself drawn back, perhaps in part because new pools now exist in spots where I have never cast a line. I’m sure there are still plenty of bright shiny, hard hitting, feisty rainbow trout to be hooked and played.

The Adams River was once famous for its sockeye salmon runs. The river would literally turn red with spawning salmon. However, their numbers have dwindled to the point where the sockeye may very well have reached the point of no return. That fact saddens me greatly. To make matters even worse, the banks where I once walked with such eager anticipation, I now walk so much slower.

I guess I’ve changed as much as the river.

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