A celebration of the Salmon,
the Eagles, and the Sturgeon

October 2023- January 2024

SEASON OF THE WILD

Join us this fall as we celebrate the beauty and biodiversity of the Harrison River Valley by
honouring the majestic bald eagle, the luminescent salmon, and the prehistoric sturgeon.

Every year between October and January, spawning salmon return to Canada’s first certified
salmon stronghold, the Harrison River. This ecologically rich river is one of the most protected
and productive salmon ecosystems in the world, attracting tens of thousands of wintering bald
eagles to the area.

Travel our trails and waterways to witness the raptors feast on the river banks and glide through
the waters with our modern-day dinosaurs, the sturgeon.
We invite you to experience the Season of the Wild.

Eagles
BALD EAGLE GATHERING

The wintering bald eagles can be seen throughout the Harrison River Valley, but the capital is Harrison Mills. Situated on the Harrison River, take a walk through the forest trails to the eagle-viewing gazebo at Sandpiper Resort, enjoy a guided walk along the shores at Kilby Historic Site, book a bald eagle viewing tour, with live viewing cameras, with Harrison Eco Tours or cruise the river with Shoreline Tours. As part of the BC Bird Trail, and designated as an Important Bird Area, we invite you to look for other raptors.

Stay in the Wild- Accommodations
STAY IN THE WILD

Discover our accommodations in the Harrison River Valley

Salmon
SALMON CYCLE

On the shores of Harrison Lake you have easy boat access to the pristine Harrison River, the first designated Salmon Stronghold in Canada. A “Salmon Stronghold” means that all 5 species of salmon live and spawn in our waterways. To view the spawning salmon, we recommend walking the Eagle Walk at Sandpiper Resort.

Our salmon’s migration from saltwater to freshwater begins in the middle of October
and goes until the end of November. Weaver Creek Spawning Channel is a prime viewing spot for the spawning salmon. For an experiential tour, we recommend a
scenic and educational boating experience with Harrison Eco Tours.

Experience the wild- events
EXPERIENCE THE WILD

Our events

Mighty Sturgeon
PREHISTORIC STURGEON

Anglers from across the world come to see the sturgeon in the Harrison River. Called the marlins of freshwater, these magnificent creatures date back to the dinosaurs and can age up to 200 years old. They are considered to be one of the most spectacular freshwater sports fish, having a reputation for their size, strength, and impressive jumps. Guided fishing tours are available with
BC Sportfishing Group, Fraser River Lodge, and Kilby Lodge.

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PROTECT THE WILD

Due to the amazing phenomena that is the migration of the salmon and the bald eagles to this area, this is a highly sensitive habitat. Respect the wild when participating in wildlife viewing. From October- February we must remain off the Chehalis Flats.

The Chehalis Flats or Lhá:lt are the resting grounds for the migrating eagles and spawning salmon.

This is a highly sensitive habitat. Kayaking and walking through the flats disturbs the resting eagles, and is a danger to salmon eggs and eagles in the area. Stay off the flats from October through February.

There are a number of trails to safely view the eagles and spawning salmon. See our guided and self-guided excursions and itineraries.

The Weaver Creek Spawning Channel is a busy place – for salmon and people! Built in 1965 as an extension to the existing Weaver Creek enabling more salmon to spawn naturally than in the creek alone, the Spawning Channel provides additional spawning habitat for salmon. In this 3 km long channel sockeye, chum and pink salmon deposit thousands of fertilized eggs naturally. Depending on the salmon cycle sockeye and chum will proliferate one year and pinks the other. The channel holds approximately 45,000 spawning adults with recent returns to the system ranging from 1,000 – 100,000 adults. The spawning channel also provides a stable flow of clean water for the salmon eggs and alevins in the gravel and is protected from flooding and/or freezing that could kill eggs and alevins.

LOCATION

Located in Harrison Mills, off Lougheed Highway (Hwy 7). Approximately 32 kms from Harrison Hot Springs, 43 kms from Mission, and 28 kms from Agassiz.

TOURS

All tours are self-guided. There is a picnic area, public parking and portable toilets on site.

KEY ACTIVITIES

  • Fish production to support sustainable fisheries
  • Stock conservation
  • Stewardship and education
  • Stock assessment
  • Indigenous partnerships
  • Water management

Weaver Creek Spawning Channel is CLOSED for 2023. To view the spawning salmon, we recommend walking the Eagle Walk at Sandpiper Resort. The Harrison River Valley is a region of endless rivers, streams, and lakes along with the prolific wildlife. Our mighty Fraser and Harrison Rivers are the main artery of millions of migrating salmon that pass through on the way to the spawning grounds. This river is home of the long-lived white sturgeon, the largest freshwater fish in North America. These monster fish grow to over one thousand pounds and can live up to 200 years. They are considered to be one of the most spectacular freshwater sports fish, having the reputation for their size, strength, and impressive jumps.

On the shores of Harrison Lake you have easy boat access to the pristine Harrison River, the first designated Salmon Stronghold in Canada. A “Salmon Stronghold” means that all 5 species of salmon live and spawn in our waterways.

Inspire your journey to the wild with our multi-day itinerary

Trip Length: 3-4 days

Day 1: Arrive in Harrison Hot Springs in the early afternoon. While many accommodations have a 4pm check-in, you can use the early afternoon to get to know our Village. Stop into our Visitor Centre for information about our area. Grab dinner from one of our many restaurants, we recommend booking in advance to guarantee your seating. After dinner, take a sunset stroll to the Eagle Viewing gazebo at the Sandpiper Resort. This short walk, will take you through spawning salmon grounds and to a beautiful lookout to safely view the Bald Eagles.

Day 2:  Explore by Land.  Start your day with breakfast at one of our local restaurants, then take a light stroll to the Hot Springs Source and around the lakeside promenade taking in local sights and wildlife. On this stroll, you will pass Qwólts Park. This park has been created in honour of the traditional territory of Sts’ailes. Sit, reflect, and enjoy the interpretive panels created by the Village of Harrison Hot Springs and Sts’ailes. After exploring the Village, drive up to Harrison Mills to explore Kilby Historic Site. Visit the 1920’s General Store and feed the adorable farm animals. Stop here to have lunch at the Kilby Café. Once you have thoroughly explored Kilby Historic Site, set out to either Kilby Provincial Park to walk the Kilby Loop, Weaver Creek Spawning Channel or Sts’ailes Heritage Trail to see our local spawning grounds.

Day 3: Explore by Water. The best wildlife viewing is from the water. After you have enjoyed breakfast at one of our local restaurants, head down to the Resort Dock, to take to the water. There are two ways to enjoy our salmon and our eagles – by motorized boat (Shoreline Tours and Harrison Eco Toursor by paddling (Harrison Eco Tours).   Harrison Eco Tours and self-guided paddling excursions leads you up the Harrison River where you can see eagles, gulls, freshwater seals, and minks; you might even witness an angler reeling in a mammoth sturgeon! The Harrison River is the first designated salmon stronghold, and because of that sees a wide variety of wildlife. You may also explore the river by motorized boat, both Harrison Eco Tours and Shoreline Tours offer Fall Wildlife Tours up the river.

Day 4: Explore More. Explore what you missed the day before discovering our trails, hatcheries, or the water. Learn about the conservation efforts of the sturgeon by going on a tour with one of our many local guides or visit the Agassiz Harrison Museum to learn about the history of the area.

To enhance your stay plan your itinerary around one of our Season of the Wild events.

Learn More:

Chehalis Estuary (Lhá:lt) – The Chehalis Estuary is located just outside of Harrison Mills, in Sts’ailes. This estuary is the breeding ground for species of salmon including coho and chum, and a designated  Important Bird Area due to the large volumes of bald eagles and trumpeter swans found here. The bald eagle sightings in this area are particularly impressive when they gather in the fall. You must remain off the flats from October-February.

Explore More Wildlife Viewing Locations:

Cheam Wetlands – Located a short drive from Agassiz, Cheam Wetlands boasts a 2 km trail, two wildlife viewing platforms, and an abundance of bird species including various types of shorebirds. One of the viewing platforms at Cheam Wetlands is wheelchair accessible. 

Great Blue Heron Reserve – Located in Chilliwack, this reserve features over 150 nests and is home to one of the largest colonies of herons in the lower mainland. The Interpretive Centre is open seasonally; please check the website for hours of operation. We highly recommend the Great Heron Reserve as a stop on your way to or from Harrison. 

SEASON OF THE WILD EVENTS

AGASSIZ HARRISON MUSEUM PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT BY ANDREA CHAPMAN. OCT 4-21

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DISCOVER THE WILD

Explore the self-guided Season of the Wild and participate in our various events and happenings throughout the Season.

Together in the Wild

We see our region through the construct of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Come as you are, let’s be together in the wild.

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