Come November, the view from the Knights Ferry Bridge is sure to include Chinook salmon during the peak of their migration. It is this time of year that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District, FISHBIO, and other local partners come together to celebrate the annual Stanislaus River Salmon Festival. The sixth annual event will be held in Knights Ferry at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Stanislaus River Park on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The festival will host several activities for adults and children, including live music by local artists, fish print T-shirts, fly fishing demos, and demonstrations of salmon carcass survey techniques. Spawning salmon can be viewed from above via the bridge, and from below the water’s surface, using an underwater camera and monitor. As of Oct. 31, 2016 FISHBIO has reported nearly 10,000 Chinook salmon have entered the Stanislaus River weir, a temporary barrier used to direct migrating fish through a single opening where they are counted.
The event is focused on providing interactive hands-on activities for children via exhibitors from local agriculture, state and federal fisheries agencies, and both for-profit and non-profit groups. The event is a great opportunity to learn more about salmon and steelhead, river restoration, agriculture, and water.
As they have in the past, the Oakdale Lions Club will again be providing a salmon barbeque.
The purpose of the free, family-friendly outdoor event is to educate community members, especially young people, by promoting protection of river habitat for the Chinook salmon and steelhead. Attendees can also purchase a Salmon Festival 2017 Calendar featuring artwork from local elementary and middle school students for only $5. Proceeds go to support next year’s festival. It has been with this support and that of Oakdale Tourism & Visitors Bureau and the Stanislaus County Fish & Wildlife Committee that continue to make this a free family friendly event.