Surprised by Salmon on the Green River

We were so happy to have rainfall in the Pacific Northwest this weekend and healthy air once again so we celebrated with a walk at Kanasket-Palmer State Park.

Through the woods and down to the Green River we went, enjoying the wet and colorful foliage and fresh fragrance of the forest.

At one point we could see salmon leaping on the other side of the river and Bob thought he remembered a fish hatchery over there.

So we drove to the tiny town of Palmer (if you can call a few houses and a hatchery a town) and parked the car. A short trail led us to the spot we’d seen from the other side and there were the salmon, thick in the stream. They were driven by powerful instinct, hurling themselves forward to get back to the place of their birth – as if their life depended upon it – and the life of future generations do.

Have you considered the miracle of that? After being born the Chinook head out to the ocean, spend a few years there, then make their way back to the stream or hatchery they came from. They come to spawn, and to die, overcoming many obstacles on the way.

Some made it through and the rest kept trying.

We didn’t understand the impediment until we talked to a fisherman familiar with the hatchery. Apparently they want the fish to remain in the river as long as possible where there’s more oxygen, until the hatchery is ready to receive them.

It was both beautiful and painful to watch, but the salmon were undeterred, driven by something they didn’t understand. They would soon create new life and die, and become a food source for other living creatures.

The cycle would continue.

~ Susanne

12 Comments on “Surprised by Salmon on the Green River

  1. The way they find their way back to where they were born has long fasciated me. Nature seems to endure any obstacle we put in its way.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks Pete. I’ve seen salmon in the rivers here before slowly moving upstream against the current. But I’d never seen them in such large numbers as they approached the home stretch. It was truly awe-inspiring! πŸ™‚

    • Me too. It was sad to watch them try to fight through a manmade obstacle. I didn’t quite understand the reasons other than what I heard from a local fisherman familiar with the hatchery.

  2. I have written before of my love of watching salmon, both at Bonneville and on the Columbia before they built the Dalles Dam and the Celilo Indians speared them. Thanks for the memories your photos brought me.

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