Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kokanee Salmon

One of the highlights of the weekend was the unexpected discovery of Taylor Creek, where the Kokanee salmon return to spawn every October. The creek runs under the 89, and I stopped my car to take some pictures of yellow aspen trees. Then I saw a few people looking into the water under the bridge. There were salmon everywhere! One woman said she has returned to the creek every year for the last five years to see the salmon.

There is a nice paved walk that takes visitors through the meadow, around the creek, with excellent views of surrounding peaks. I couldn't help but feel extremely blessed to witness such a fantastic phenomenon unexpectedly. The Kokanee salmon were introduced to Lake Tahoe in the 1940's. The adult salmon return to Taylor creek to spawn, die shortly afterwards, and then the baby salmon are washed back into Lake Tahoe when the snow melts in the spring. The ducks like to eat the newly laid salmon eggs. Often, they would paddle with their feet to wash up some eggs and then eat them as they float up to the surface.

I experienced a bit of nostalgia when some of the parents brought their children down to the creek. The kids could not stop throwing rocks and sticks at the salmon. The parents kept yelling at the kids, but eventually another rock would fly into the creek, as the salmon would attempt to dodge the lethal projectile. It reminded me of my brothers and I when we would visit the Chesapeake Bay near Annnopolis, Maryland. Every trip would eventually descend into a hunting trip as unfortunate jellyfish and horseshoe crabs were mercilessly bombed with rocks from the pier from us kids. Eventually, we were taught to make miniature sailboats out of styrofoam and driftwood and bomb those instead. A book I just read about an indigenous tribe in the Amazon described the children running around the village with miniature bows and arrows hunting the tiny rodents in the surrounding rain forest. I guess the hunting instinct is still strong in us humans.

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3 comments:

  1. I caught Jack smashing some trailside vegetation with a hiking stick a couple months ago. When I admonished him, he basically claimed the stick was controlling HIM! I won't be having random destruction on my watch. I have a lot to atone for from my youth!

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  2. Neat about the salmon. Didn't know there were any in Tahoe.

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