I’m still amazed by my recent visit to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery. Salmon work hard to complete their journey and spawn. The hatchery plays an important role in insuring the salmon life cycle.
Here’s what Wikipedia says: From November through March river water flows down the fish ladder to encourage fish to enter and climb the steps to the hatchery. The gate at the foot of the ladder is closed when the holding pool at the top is full in order to prevent overcrowding. Ripe (ready to spawn) fish are brought from this holding pool into the hatchery spawning deck, where workers collect eggs from the females and milt from the males. Fertilized eggs are placed in hatching jars, with river water upwelling from the bottom to simulate natural conditions. When the eggs are ready to hatch the jars are tipped into large tubs where the baby fish (alevin) will remain while they absorb their yolk sacs and become free-swimming. They are then moved outside to raceway pools where they are feed multiple times a day and grow rapidly. Once the fish are ready to begin their outmigration to the ocean, at 60 fish to the pound for salmon and 4 fish to the pound for steelhead trout, they are loaded into tanker trucks and transported to the river for release. From here they make their way downstream and eventually journey out to sea.
The salmon work hard, jumping to get out of the holding tank. Taking their picture was also difficult. At first I tried to follow a possible jumper. That didn’t work. Then I tried zone focusing, which worked better. I was shooting at a shutter speed of 1/160, but still some of the fish were not in focus. My other problem was a slow reaction time. Sometimes I didn’t push the shutter down fast enough. They jump so fast, water splashing all over the place, and some jumping around the one I had in sight. I did get enough though.
My lesson for the day: patience. I just stood there, camera aimed and waited. I know, that’s not me, but I did it!
At certain intervals, the salmon are pushed into the building where their eggs are collected. I was about to shoot the last fish being gutted when a worker stepped in front of my camera. All I have is a shot of them cleaning the table.
We were fortunate enough to have a Ranger show us a female that still had some eggs in her.
So, take a look at my adventure.
4 thoughts on “Completing a life cycle: The Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Gold River”
So interesting, Anne! And you got some clear and sharp photos of the salmon jumping! Bravo!!! When I went to Scotland I visited some rivers where you could see the fish jumping up waterfalls. They were huge and easy to see, but for me, impossible to capture in a photo!! They were really fast… and my little camera too slow, hehehe. So I ended up taking long exposures of the waterfalls instead. But watching the salmon swim up in the river and jumping that high was a super nice experience itself, so I enjoyed it a lot! (and tasting the Scottish salmon was also super nice, hahaha, specially for me, it’s my favorite fish!!)
What a fun challenge! You caught (no pun 🙂 )
(ugh too early) some really great action shots! 🙂
Thank you Donna. I was shooting with my 18 – 140mm kit lens. That lens is great. Looks like you had one of those early mornings. I sometimes get those too, thinking I can get back to sleep or nap during the day, but neither of those happen! Take care.
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