Monday, May 7, 2007

Look what I found!

Here are a couple of photographs that I thought would be interesting. All the high water we have been experiencing the last couple weeks on the Salmon River has shifted the river bottom considerably. As some of you know, when this happens, especially for the Salmon River lots of food for the fish to feed on can be shaken loose. High water will not only wash a lot of bugs loose in a stream bottom, it will knock everything else loose that is hidden in the gravel. In certain sections of the river, where intense salmon spawning has occurred, large volumes of unfertilized eggs, and this time of the year freshly hatched sac fry. The first photograph is showing the unfertilized salmon eggs. I found these eggs washed up on a small island in the upper portion of the River. Look at the color of the eggs, and we can tell why peach colored glow bugs are so effective. Also, note the size of the eggs, about a size 8 or 10. Most interesting is the color of the egg in the upper right hand corner, note the light blue haze color to the egg. I have often wondered why the color blue has traditionally been a fact color for the Salmon River.

Second photograph -- I often talk about how productive the Salmon River is for producing both wild Chinook salmon and Steelhead. What I am showing here is called sac fry, or more precisely Chinook salmon sac fry. The Salmon River must produce millions of these little salmon fry and the mortality must be huge for these little guys, especially when you consider the millions that are lost due to wild water full fluctuations and predation. Obviously it is a numbers game in the survival of young fish. The more eggs the fish lays, the better chance of a few of their young surviving to come back and play with us in a few years.

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