This week was an exciting week here at the Chapman Creek Fish Hatchery. Over the past several months our team, led by Bill our Hatchery Manager, has been raising a number of salmon eggs harvested from the Chapman Creek run this past year, and, from our sister hatchery in Chilliwack. The team in Chilliwack provided us with chinook salmon eggs and we’ve been looking after them in our incubation building since their arrival in the fall.

Now that the chinook have hatched and consumed their yoke sacks while growing in our incubation building it is time for them to be ponded. This process requires the team to remove every one of the hatched fish and carefully transfer them to an outdoor pond, with a cover, where they will be fed and continue to grow until we release them to Chapman Creek in the Spring.

What is really incredible about this process is watching the fish see the sky for the very first time in their lives! Each of them has to make his or her way to the surface to gulp in their first taste of air and inflate their swim bladder to help them control their body position in the water column. Once the fish are ponded, and gulp their air, they start to swim collectively under the sky and settle into their next phase of growth and development.

The process was completed on a rainy day this week at the hatchery thanks to our ever faithful volunteers. Here’s a few photos of the action!