Chilliwack’s Island 22 opens early as sockeye season returns

Chilliwack’s Island 22 opens early as sockeye season returns

After a closure last year, local fishers are looking forward to a big run

Tuesday will be a busy day on the Fraser River as the first recreational sockeye salmon fishery opens for the first time in two years.

The Fraser Valley Regional District is preparing for the onslaught. It’s opening up Island 22 early to accommodate the influx.

Anglers are expecting a big run, with Fisheries and Oceans Canada estimating as many as 14 million sockeye salmon could be making their final push to their spawning grounds.

Part of that anticipation is fuelled by the last two runs in this group’s four-year cycle in 2014 and 2010.

But that optimism is tempered by concerns over the temperature of the Fraser River. Hot weather, like what the region experienced last week and what is forecast for early this week can discourage the fish from entering the river. It can also weaken them and make it less likely they will reach the spawning grounds.

Nonetheless, local fishers are looking forward to another opportunity to catch the prized sockeye.

Last year conservation concerns closed the river to recreational anglers.

This year the allowable catch is two sockeye per day and four chinook.

Both Dewdney and Island 22 will be opening at 5 am to accommodate the fishery, the FVRD says.

READ MORE: Fraser Sockeye and Chinook recreational fishery open Tuesday for anglers