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The Shuswap

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Some 60km north of Vernon along Hwy-97A, the functional lakeside city of SALMON ARM marks the southern extent of the Shuswap region, whose centrepiece is Shuswap Lake. Taking their names from the largest single aboriginal BC tribe, the region and lake offer 1000km of navigable waterways and 32 provincial parks, making them ideal for fishing, swimming, waterskiing or houseboating. But the big draw is the spectacle of the annual migrations of spawning salmon every October and Salmon Arm was even named for an era when it was possible to spear salmon straight from the lake, and fish were so plentiful that they were shovelled onto the land as fertilizer. Stocks have been severely depleted over the last century or so, but Shuswap Lake still provides an important sanctuary for hatched salmon fry before their long journey down the Thompson and Fraser rivers to the sea. Up to two million fish brave the run from the Pacific up to their birthplace in the Adams River. During spawning time, people also migrate here in droves, with around 250,000 visitors coming during the peak week alone. Salmon Arm is the largest of the area’s somewhat bland resorts.

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