Campbell River: The Quinsam Hatchery has been in operation since 1974. Located just off of Highway 28, the Quinsam Hatchery is a great place to observe juvenile salmon all year, or returning salmon from end-of-July to mid-November. Self-guided tours are open to visitors seven days a week from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Significantly boosting returns, the hatchery plays a vital role in restoring natural spawning runs to the Campbell/Quinsam Rivers as well as assisting production of other systems such as the Puntledge and Oyster rivers. Each year, four species of Pacific salmon and two species of sea run trout return to the Quinsam and Campbell Rivers to spawn. Generally, the salmon spawn in the fall and the trout in the spring. The preferred time to observe salmon is from August to November. Adult salmon can be found throughout the river, but the largest concentration can usually be found just below the counting fence in the Quinsam River.
As one of Canada’s largest salmon rearing facilities, the Quinsam Salmon Hatchery has been undergoing substantial (and exciting) renovations and improvements over the past few years. The highlight for visitors is the fish floor inside the hatchery’s interpretive centre: it is a glass floor covering a re-creation of the nearby rivers with salmon, trout and other native aquatic species. It’s the work of Quadra Island artist William van Orden who has developed his own technique for making replica fish from moulds; in this case, moulds made from fish and other aquatic species found in the Quinsam River. Visitors will be challenged to identify as many species as possible and then they can check their tally against the list posted inside the centre, which also provides a history of fishing, fish rearing and other neat stuff. This site offers a self-guided tour with the aid of a pamphlet guide; special tours can be pre-arranged depending of staff availability.
Visitors can observe returning salmon from the end-of-July to mid-November and juvenile salmon year round. The facility and surrounding river and streams present outstanding prospects to view salmon in their natural habitat and to observe the processes of a successful, effective hatchery. There are many walking trails to enjoy branching off along the river and many are wheel chair accessible. Caution is to be exercised in the fall months as it is not unusual to encounter black bears on the trail that are also very interested in salmon.
Located 5km from downtown Campbell River: drive west onto Highway 28 (towards Gold River) and you won’t miss the “Fish Hatchery” sign as you turn left onto Quinsam Road.
Gold River: The Conuma Hatchery located between Gold River & Tahsis is open to the public and provides free exploration and immersive tours. For safety, Conuma staff guide all public tours which take approximately one-half hour. Discover the genuine wonder of a hatchery in full swing. Take a short getaway and follow the beautiful Highway 28 from the Village of Gold River, 36 km along Head Bay Forestry Road on the way to Tahsis, BC. The Conuma Hatchery is open to all visitors Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 3:30pm. Phone 250-283-7148