An estuary is a body of water formed where rivers & streams mix with saltwater as they flow into the ocean. Estuaries and the areas surrounding them are places of wonder and beauty – places of peace and tranquility. There is protection from ocean waves, winds, & storms by the reefs, barrier islands, or fingers of land, mud, or sand that surround them.
Estuaries provide places for recreational activities, bird watching, and wildlife viewing and study. They are a natural resource that must be managed with careful consideration, for the mutual benefit of all who enjoy and depend on them. They benefit local economies, by boosting tourism, as many people come to view area birds & wildlife.
Countless species of birds, mammals, fish, and other wildlife depend on estuarine habitats as places to live, feed, & reproduce. Many marine species depend on estuaries at some stage of their development. Numerous species of fish rely on the sheltered waters of estuaries as protected spawning places. Because they are biologically productive, estuaries provide ideal areas for migratory birds to rest & feed during their long migrations.
Estuaries also perform other valuable services. Water flowing from upstream areas carries sediments, nutrients & pollutants to estuaries. As the water flows through wetlands such as swamps and salt marshes, much of the sediments and pollutants are filtered out. This natural filtration process creates cleaner & clearer water, which benefits humans as well as marine life.
Adam River Estuary
The Adam River Estuary is a pretty awesome area to explore. As estuaries go, this one is small but it’s so full of life, from the sea creatures to the birdlife, it’s got it all. You quite likely could see whales or black bears, there are lots of elk sign in the area and plenty of deer. Read More….
Campbell River Estuary
The Campbell River Estuary is a beautiful place to go for a walk or to try your luck at fishing. There are great birding opportunities, and chances to see a variety of marine animals: mink, seals, sea lions, and so much more! The tides create a rich and diverse environment that supports these animals. All 5 types of salmon have runs in this river. Seagoing steelhead and cutthroat also visit the estuary during their life cycles. Read More….
Colonial Creek Estuary
The Colonial and Cayeghle Creek estuary flows into the Neroutsos inlet at its southern end, just past the town of Port Alice. The estuary is a great place for wildlife viewing. You have a good chance of seeing deer, elk, black bears, and cougars along with incredible bird watching opportunities. The eagles here are an incredible sight and during the herring runs in the last days of winter is the best time to view them. Read More….
Conuma River Estuary
The Conuma River Estuary has lots of wildlife viewing opportunities, you might see black bears, Roosevelt elk, deer, and plenty of sea life, birds & little shoreline creatures, like mink and marten. The best time to view salmon is from late September through October. Chinook salmon spawn in late September; coho & chum in October and November. Read More….
Gold River Estuary
Gold River has now become a west coast tourism hub, that offers everything from mountain climbing to whale watching, along with affordable accommodations & friendly folks who will go out of their way to help you! It has evolved into a very beautiful community. So come on by, and check out the area, drop your kayak/canoe in the estuary, and you’ll see some incredible sights! Read More….
Goodspeed River Estuary
The Goodspeed River Estuary is located 42 km west of Port Hardy, at the head of Holberg Inlet. At the turn of the century, Danish settlers headed inland to build a new life. They settled Holberg, naming it after Baron Ludwig Holberg, a famous playwright. On your way to the estuary, look for the Shoe Tree, a place where hikers retire what’s left of their boots & shoes after they hike to Cape Scott! Read More….
Leiner River Estuary
The Leiner River Estuary has a small summer and winter run of steelhead and a great fall run of coho when the fall rains are heavy. There is plenty of other wildlife here also, and you will see much of it. Look for the hummingbirds in the spring and summer, there are more here than anywhere in the world. There are several great hiking trails that run alongside the leiner river. Read More….
Menzies Creek Estuary
Menzies Creek, along with its estuary, is located in Menzies Bay. This is a very beautiful estuary – one that l have always enjoyed hiking around in. At low tide, you can really get around easily. There are huge clam & oyster beds, along with other creatures, like the mudflat crabs, that are everywhere! The creek is beautiful, & slow running – a lovely shaded place, with big trees along its banks, almost prehistoric! Read More….
Mohun Creek Estuary
When l was just a boy back in the ’60s, my family would go camping at the mouth of Mohun Creek (called Trout Creek back then). There was a great campsite built here, and the fishing was just incredible. I remember fishing for sea-run cutthroat here, and getting some real lunkers! There was clam digging and lots of oysters, as well as some great crabbing to be had here. Read More….
Nesook River Estuary
The Nesook River Estuary is located in Nesook Bay in the Tlupana Inlet. The Nesook River empties into the Tlupana river and forms the estuary for both rivers, creating a great estuary with all kinds of wildlife. Many seabirds visit this estuary to nest and feed. You can see black bears during the salmon runs, and there are plenty of other animals here – both land and marine. Read More….
Oyster River Estuary
The Oyster River Estuary trail is a great place to go for a walk. It has some spectacular, old, tall trees to observe, as you meander along the path to the ocean. At the end of the trail is a wonderful sandy beach. This park is accessed from the old island highway, at the Oyster River crossing. Where the river meets the ocean just at a bend in the trail, look up at the tops of the old-growth fir trees. You will see an incredibly big & active eagle’s nest. Read More….
Quatse River Estuary
The Quatse River Estuary is ranked amongst the top ten on Vancouver Island. The wildlife viewing here is awesome. The trails are beautiful and there is so much to see here. All of our local waters salmon species spend time in the Quatse River Estuary at some point in life. The Quatse River Hatchery has been front and center in the work being taken to improve fish returns to the river. Read More….
Salmon River Estuary
The Salmon River Estuary is made up of approx. 500 acres of intertidal marshes and mudflats, with the river meandering through them. Spruce & hemlock forests dominate the estuary’s upland areas and open wet grasslands, along the waterways. Coho, Chinook, Pink, and Chum salmon travel through the Salmon River Estuary on their way to their spawning areas. Read More….
San Juan River Estuary
The wildlife here in the San Juan River Estuary is incredible, you have a great chance of seeing black bears, deer, cougar, martins, or raccoons along with numerous birds of all types. Looking out to sea, you could see gray whales, sea lions, and seals. Kayakers love the area as there is so much to this huge estuary that you could kayak here for a week and still not see it all. Read More….
Zeballos River Estuary
The Zeballos River Estuary is located at the end of Zeballos Inlet. There is a small summer run of steelhead along with coho and Chinook in the fall in the estuary. You can catch some very nice resident cutthroat that can get pretty big. The winter run of steelhead is at this time closed to fishing. Read More….