The Cowichan River is one of the most important streams in the Georgia Basin, and in combination with its main tributaries (Quamichan Creek and Somenos Creek) and the nearby Koksilah River, it provided ready access to an abundant food supply. The rivers supported abundant salmon and trout populations. The sea at Cowichan Bay was rich in shellfish, marine plants and marine mammals.

Cowichan Fish Hatchery

Started in 1977, the Cowichan Fish Hatchery is a Salmonid Enhancement facility operated by Cowichan Tribes under contract to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The primary goal of the Hatchery is to raise the wild salmon stock in the Cowichan River system to historical levels through a combination of brood stock and salvage strategies. The facility has a capacity for 3.5 million eggs, but is limited by water availability (the facility uses ground water only) and returning stocks (maximum 30%).

Salmon Fry Release (to 2003): 

Chum (since 1976) - 6,0420708
Coho (1982 to 2000*) - 2,438,836
Coho salvaged (since 1976) - 6,352,550**
Chinook (since 1979) - 44,778,458**


**Updated: March 26, 2015


5762 Allenby Road
Duncan, BC V9L 5J1

Ph: 250.748.3196
Fx: 250.748.1233


* Brood stock of coho was discontinued in 2001. Research found that wild coho are much stronger and therefore have a much better survival rate.