Simpcw manages and operates a Fish Hatchery adjacent to Dunn Creek, where they raise salmon to support local waterways. The hatchery was established in 1983, when Coho were raised in the base of the chlorination shack of the band. However, it was soon discovered that moving the smolts out of their temporary “home” for release was difficult, and a more permanent solution was needed. This led to the construction of the Dunn Lake Hatchery at the South end of Dunn Lake in 1984; initially lake pens were built, but these too were unsatisfactory due to warm water temperatures which led to many mortalities among the Coho juvenile stocks.
In 1992, an agreement was signed with Land & Water BC, which allowed Simpcw tenure on the banks of Dunn Creek. This new site allowed for the hatchery to be ground-water fed, lowering the water temperature and decreasing fish mortality rates.
Currently, we produce 20,000 Coho salmon from Dunn Creek each year, and in 2015 we began to produce an additional 20,000 Coho from the Deadman River on behalf of Skeetchestn Hatchery.
The hatchery program is overseen by a partnership comprised of Simpcw’s Natural Resource Department and a Community Advisor for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). The main focus of the hatchery and Simpcw’s fisheries program is the conservation, protection and management of fish populations within Simpcwúl’ecw. In past years, the Simpcw Fisheries Program has been involved in the following projects and tasks:
This program focuses on the conservation and management of fish stocks within Simpcwúl’ecw. Starting in 1993, Simpcw First Nation received funding through the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy in order to conduct catch monitoring. This allows Simpcw to not only pay attention to fish stocks in our local waterways, but also informs Simpcw members where fish is in abundance. Today, Simpcw is a leader in selective fish harvesting methods within the Secwepemc Nation. Several local rivers and tributaries have proven to be popular for selective fishing techniques:
This mid- to late-October event welcomes visitors from local schools, Barriere and Clearwater, and has been one of the longest-running traditions within the Simpcw community. 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of this celebration, where the Hatchery hosts a “home cooked” lunch and showcases the Hatchery with various activities and exhibitions.
In 2015, Simpcw hosted the 11th annual First Fish Ceremony, which is held at the Raft River Viewing Platform in Clearwater. On this day, Simpcw invites guests to participate in several activities that highlight Simpcw’s culture and history, including pit cooking, sockeye salmon viewing, storytelling and a traditional game called Lehal.
This program, aimed at school children throughout Simpcwúl’ecw, celebrated its 11th year of operation at the Raft River Viewing Platform and the nearby (former) DFO Compound in Clearwater. In 2012, 654 students participated in the program, coming from the local communities of Heffley Creek, Barriere, Chu Chua, Raft River, Vavenby and Blue River. This 3-day program includes four stations which relay information about Simpcw Culture & Fisheries, BC Wildlife Federation Wetlands, Invasive Fish Species and a Fish Print. Simpcw First Nation works in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the District of Clearwater and the North Thompson Community Resource Centre to offer this program to local youth.
For more information or inquiries, please contact:
Fisheries and Wildlife Coordinator
Phone: 250.672.9995 ext 262
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500 Dunn Lake Road, B.C
8:00am-4:00pm Monday to Friday