Thursday, October 28, 2010

Adams River Sockeye Boondoggle and Kit #19

Sockeye salmon heading up the Adams River
Dead fish lining the shores of
Shuswap Lake
The river ran red. Really. This is the BIG BIG BIG year for the Adams River Sockeye salmon run. For some reason, every four years, there is a bumper year for sockeye returning fish--after their first year, spent in fresh water, the little tykes head down river and spend the next three years in the ocean before returning to their birth place. So a big year is every 4th year and this was a 4th year. Despite predictions from some quarters of a crash, this year was the biggest year since 1913, 34.5 MILLION FISH!. Compare that to last years 1 million fish. This was BIG BIG. Once in a lifetime. So we had to go see it.  Click here to see my slide show.
Spinning Kit# in the van
We've been to the last 4th year run and 8 years before, and they were impressive, so I didn't know how this could be even more impressive. It wasn't that we saw more fish swimming up river- maybe we did but I never counted--but what we saw was more dead fish. After they spawn they die. It's their destiny. So while the line of fish kept going up river, those that spawned and died, floated back down the river and lined the shores of Shuswap Lake. The mouth of the river was thick with dead fish. Now think about this. 34.5 million fish all spawning then dying and littering the shore. That adds up to a lot of dead fish with decaying, rotting flesh. The smell was, well, it smelt. Bearable but the smell did linger with us for hours. .....hmmm, I better have someone with a sensitive nose, check the aroma of kit # 19 - fine grade fleece wool spun and prepared worsted-style, spun in the van on the way there and carried in my pack while viewing and sidestepping dead fish.
Count: 4 down 36 to go

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