Oolichan Experience

Rob BryceGhost Towns of Northwest BC, UNBC Experiential Tourism Program Comments

Oolichan are a smelt-like fish that are very important to the Nisga’a because of their high grease content. It is well deserving of the name “candlefish” because they can be made to burn like a candle. For the Nisga’a, the Oolichan was a “saviour” fish, due to it being the first fresh food source after the long north coast winter. Oolichan are an anadromous species that spend most of their life in the ocean and like salmon, they return to freshwater streams and rivers to spawn and die. As they struggle upstream, oolichan can be easily caught in traps or nets. From time immemorial, the Nisga’a have processed the oolichan in a variety of different ways andcontinue to carry out this tradition today.  This tour is scheduled to be delivered  in March 2016 in the Nass Valley.

The bins are starting to fill after the first pull of the Oolichan nets

Can you tell which is the male and female oolichan?

The crew from Walter’s camp check the Oolichan nets on a rainy Nass River