Elenor, 4, from Murrayville, released Chinook smelts into the Nicomekl River system on Saturday, April 30. She was one of about 600 people who turned out for the Langley hatchery’s first in-person open house since the pandemic hit. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Elenor, 4, from Murrayville, released Chinook smelts into the Nicomekl River system on Saturday, April 30. She was one of about 600 people who turned out for the Langley hatchery’s first in-person open house since the pandemic hit. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Nicomekl hatchery open house called a ‘tremendous success’

Saturday fish release event drew 600 to Langley facility

Elenor was delighted by the way the Chinook salmon smelts in her bucket splashed around, as she eased them into the creek behind the Nicomekl hatchery.

“They flip around,” the four-year-old from Murrayville remarked.

On Saturday, April 30, the little girl was one of 600 people who attended the annual open house and fish release hosted by the Nicomekl Enhancement Society at their Langley hatchery.

It was the first in-person event at the hatchery since the pandemic hit, and it saw 25,000 Chinook salmon released into the Nicomekl River system.

VIDEO: Langley’s Nicomekl Enhancement Society to hold first open house in two years

Society president Nigel Easton was “blown away” by the turnout for the event, which ran from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the facility located at 5263 232nd St.

“It has been a zoo ever since 10:30,” Easton told the Langley Advance Times.

“I bought 630 hotdogs. They’re gone.”

He described it as a “tremendous success.”

“I couldn’t be happier,” Easton commented.

Nicomekl Enhancement Society president Nigel Easton spoke to visitors at the Langley hatchery’s first in-person open house since the pandemic hit. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Nicomekl Enhancement Society president Nigel Easton spoke to visitors at the Langley hatchery’s first in-person open house since the pandemic hit. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

For the first time, the event featured live music, playing popular 1960s and ’70s music, as well as a scavenger hunt with prizes.

It was part of a return to normal that has also seen the resumption of the hatchery school program, with planned visits from Kindergarten through Grade 5 classes, and, more volunteers on site.

Some of the 25,000 Chinook salmon smelts released at the Nicomekl Enhancement Society open house on Saturday, April 30. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Some of the 25,000 Chinook salmon smelts released at the Nicomekl Enhancement Society open house on Saturday, April 30. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

More pictures from the event can be viewed online at the Langley Advance Times Facebook page.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: wet weather a boon to Langley salmon hatchery

The society got its start in 1989, when the Langley Rod and Gun Club hosted a public meeting to organize a group of Langley area volunteers willing to work on restoring and enhancing the troubled Nicomekl River watershed.

First known as Fish for your Future, and later as the Nicomekl Enhancement Society, the all-volunteer organization has released hundreds of thousands of salmon fry into the Nicomekl River, which originates in the Township of Langley and flows east to west through the City of Langley and Surrey to Mud Bay at Blackie’s Spit.

For more information, visit nicomeklsalmonhatchery.com or their Facebook page.


Have a story tip? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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