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Virtual Tours 2020

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic the Whitehorse Fish Ladder was unable to offer in-person tours to the public.

This year’s Chinook run ran from August 1st to September 3rd with a total of 216 Chinook salmon passing through along their migration.

In lieu of public tours, the fish ladder crew created a virtual tour for the public to enjoy.

Whitehorse Rapids Fishway Indoor Virtual Tour

Welcome to the Whitehorse Rapids Fishway Indoor Virtual Tour. Unfortunately, the fish ladder will be closed to the public this 2020 summer season due to COVID-19. Hope you enjoy and stay tuned for more videos!*For best quality, we recommend changing the quality from 360p to 720p* [Script: Welcome to the Whitehorse Rapids Fishway Virtual Tour! The Whitehorse Rapids Fishway is customarily a popular educational centre for both locals and tourists. We pride ourselves in educating the public about the Chinook salmon who are vital to Yukon culture and have been for time immemorial. Every year, around mid to late July, the chinook salmon who migrate up the Yukon River reach Whitehorse and pass through the fish ladder. These hardy salmon have travelled approximately 2600 km up the Yukon River to reach here, beginning their journey from the Bering sea and beyond. These returning salmon migrate only once in their lifetime, and their purpose is to return to the streams in which they were born in order to lay and fertilize their eggs; therefore, restarting the cycle.Upon the hatching of the new generation, they spend a year in freshwater before travelling back down the river and into the ocean. The salmon then spend 2 to 6 years in the ocean, eating and growing before returning home. The salmon need to be big and strong in order to make it home as they do not eat during their migration and rely solely on their stored fats and muscle to sustain them. The salmon are able to find their way home by relying on their sensitive olfactory receptors which allow them to detect minute changes in the water’s chemical composition. Essentially, the salmon, who have imprinted on their natal streams as juveniles, play a game of “hot and cold” by following the growing familiarity of the river’s scent. As some of you may know, Whitehorse also has a hatchery program that contributes to sustaining the Yukon River Chinook salmon population. These salmon are bred from the wild salmon passing through the ladder and are released into the wild the following spring. The hatchery raises and releases about 150,000 Chinook fry every year into Wolf Creek, Mitchie creek and McClintock river which are the natural spawning sites of the wild salmon. The salmon who get released from the hatchery imprint on their release site as opposed to the hatchery because the hatchery uses “scentless” water. Many freshwater fish species use the ladder as well. In the ladder, we often see arctic grayling, lake trout, rainbow trout, longnose suckers and white-fish. They can come from above the Dam, from Shwatka Lake and from the Yukon river. They are free to use the ladder as they please but as the salmon start to arrive, we see the smaller freshwater species less often. We can only assume that this is because the salmon are much larger than the othe species and are viewed as a threat. As the salmon pass through the ladder, we keep tabs on their sex and origin. We can tell the difference between the hatchery and wild Chinook by noting the absence of the adipose fin on the hatchery salmon. This little fin, located on the back between the dorsal and caudal fin, is clipped off of the juveniles prior to release. Additionally, the juvenile salmon are also code-wire tagged for further identification abilities; this tag is located in the head. The clipped adipose fin is an important tool used to alert fishermen that a fish possesses a code-wire tag. It is asked by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada that if you do catch a fish with a clipped adipose fin that you save the head and turn it in so that data can be collected.Thank you for tuning in! Stay tuned for more virtual tours! If you have any questions feel free to comment below!]

Posted by Whitehorse Fish Ladder on Thursday, July 16, 2020