Category: Shuswap

The Mighty Sockeye Salmon

The Mighty Sockeye Salmon


It’s a fight against all odds for the mighty sockeye salmon to make it home.  For every pair of salmon that returned home to the Adams River, up to 4000 eggs are released.  Out of the 4000 eggs, only about 2 on average are able to survive the complete cycle to come back to the Adams River to reproduce and then die.  As an egg, they need to survive being eaten as food and the water temperature need to be right for them.  From each bunch of eggs, about 900 make it to the “fry” stage.  Here they eat “plankton” which is developed from the Salmon parents dieing.  Its somewhat tragic to think that in order for the species to survive, the parent salmon also have to die.  As they continue to grow in the lake they are called “parr” and then when they reach an adult’s hand size, “smolts”.

After 2 or 3 years in the lake, they are strong enough for the next adventure…heading to sea.  About 250 smolts from the initial 4000 eggs of a pair, take about 3 weeks to get there.  The smolts face yet another danger as they meet salty sea water for the first time.  They swim near the surface where the river floats on top of the ocean to get acclimatized and their kidneys get used to the extra salt.

Once at sea, the salmon must survive and overcome problems of water pollution (plastic and styrofoam), hunters like sharks, tunas, swordfish, sea lions, etc.  People fish for sockeye as well.  While it’s a great food source for humans, nets used to catch fish are sometimes left behind as garbage and create invisible traps that kill fish and other animals.

After 2 years at sea, when they are 4 years old they return to their home rivers.  This is called a 4 year return cycle.  How do they do this?  They say they “smell” their way following a scent of water as it flows along.  They can sense through their pores changes in the water, its chemistry, electrical charge, and pressure and can tell whether they’re in their birth stream river lake or sea.  Out of the 4000 initial eggs from the pair of salmon, only 2 make it back home to reproduce.

The Sockeye Salmon life cycle is both a tragic and miraculous story of endurance and perseverance.  There are any number of things that can tip the scale to reduce the numbers and it’s important we are all guardians of the environment to enable this special creature to continue.

Witness the sockeye arriving home at the Adams River at the Salute to the Sockeye festival.  There is an interpretative centre that can answer any question that you have.  For the festival, they have a wonderful artisan market where local artists sell their wares all in the celebration of the return of the sockeye.    Art in the Shuswap also has several paintings depicting this significant part of our natural environment.

Art in the Shuswap – all art is original and you can use the contact us page if you would like more information about any of the art or would like to purchase.   Double click on the painting to see a larger view.


Art Events in November

There are several art events, including the Cedar Heights Artisan Market/Bake Sale; Artistry Christmas Gift and Bake Sale at Blind Bay Hall, and Artist Talks and Demos at Teyjah’s Den in Salmon Arm, in the month of November!  Here are some advertising for them!  Great time to pick up gifts for family and friends or check out a demo!  For more information about Art Events in the Shuswap, go to

Getting Artsy at Eagle Bay

Eagle Bay Community is “getting artsy” with the intake of some new workshops in their community hall.  Sallyanne Calver has organized some great workshops to bring the arts to Eagle Bay.  When I asked Sallyanne about herself and why she decided to take on this endeavour, she was happy to share her story with me.  Sallyanne indicated “We retired to Eagle Bay in 2013 as a place to settle for our retirement years.  A place to enjoy the outdoors, and a chance to try all the things we hadn’t had time to do while working.  One of items on our bucket list was to try different mediums of art.  As we developed new friendships, we discovered that there were others like us, looking for opportunity to express themselves with art.    Eagle Bay is a community that encourages and supports new ventures, along with a community hall that is perfect for holding workshops.  So we took a chance and kicked off a monthly art workshop with Ukraine Egg Painting, the two session of painting Pot People, then onto Acrylic Ink Tile.  The response has been so positive we continue to arrange workshops held on the last Wednesday of the month.

Of late, she invited Diana Waller, artist from Blind Bay, to do a workshop on acrylic ink on tile.  Diana is known for her creative mixed media artwork and Her some of her work can be found on  Fifteen people registered from all around the Shuswap area.  Time was spent learning, painting, talking, and laughing and they all went home with their own handmade art tile.   Art in the Shuswap motto is “Art brings People Together” and this is a shining example of the great things that art can do for a community!