Fall Creek is a tributary of the Alsea River. A well-maintained gravel road is between mile markers 26 and 27 on the Alsea Highway 34. We’ve been checking Fall Creek, every couple weeks, for salmon but hadn’t seen any at the falls until this week.
There’s a really nice research center about a half-mile further up the road. They use workampers and other volunteers seasonally.
But we just like to watch the salmon jump the falls. We only saw one jump so we walked down the river to see how many we could find on redds. “Redds” are the gravel beds where salmon lay their eggs.
But we were mostly excited to see the size of these Chinook this year. They are probably in the 30-40 lb range!
“Sore Back” is a nickname given to the adult salmon that are dying. As their bodies deteriorate, they turn white and look like sores.
They’ll tend their eggs until they die.
Salmon lesson for the day: We never stop being a parent.
As a friend described it, it is the “soaker-hose kind of rain” that we’ve needed so badly here. Just a gentle, soak-the-ground-deeply, rain. 🙂
It raised the Alsea River only a quarter of an inch. But it was enough to bring the Chinook in! 2 salmon, in the 20 lb class, were caught from the banks of Blackberry Campground this weekend. It’s not that easy to discover the “truth” about what brings the salmon up a river when all you hear are fishermen’s (purported) truths or theories (sorry dear).
This I know: 1) Salmon come up the river to spawn; 2) Salmon return to their own hatching grounds.
But, as far as what role rain plays in the salmon spawn, I’m still listening to theories. Maybe there is truth in all these theories? I don’t think they contradict each other. Here are some I’ve heard: 1) The rain in the river carries the scent to the salmon that they recognize from their youth. 2) The rain lowers the temperature of the river and it’s the right temperature that tells the salmon that it’s okay to come up. 3) The rain raises the level of the river so the salmon can make it to their destination.
I know there are experts on the subject. But, frankly, I like listening to the theories. They are presented with such conviction!
We are getting more soaker-hose rain this afternoon. We had the extra high tide (9.0) around noon today. The minus tide (-.5) is around 6pm. So the tide really moved in fast this afternoon.