A side channel is a small channel that branches from a main channel of a braided river. Because the landscape of a river is constantly changing due to movement of sediments, side channels can form, disappear or become main channels over time.
In coastal streams of British Columbia, side channels are used by anadromous salmon for spawning because the current is minimal. When wading across a side channel, it is a good idea to watch where you are stepping on so you do not destroy redds. Side channels are also where juvenile salmon like to rear and feed on insects because they offer protection from large predators.
Depending on how deep they are, side channels can be great for fishing at times too. If the river is high, salmon and steelhead tend to retreat into side channels. Side channels are also where should look when targeting trout in the evening time.