October 13, 2011

Fall ritual

Fall ritual

Salmon spawn underway

By STU MERRY

Tranquility. A babbling brook in the quiet of a calm, clear, crisp fall day.
In the brook swim dozens, no, hundreds of Chinook salmon, fighting, struggling to swim upstream against the strong current. Swimming to meet their destiny; what they know they must do. It’s a fall ritual that has played out each and every year for centuries. At life’s end, each salmon swimming up the brook is giving its final great sacrifice – that of itself – to ensure the survival of the species.
But this particular brook isn’t in the northwest United States where salmon swim abundant. It’s below the Garrison Dam. The stream snakes its way from the tailrace to the doorstep of the National Fish Hatchery.
Another fall ritual is taking place at the hatchery. Its spawning season. Rob Holm, project leader at the fish hatchery, said this year’s hatch is one of the best. The goal is to fertilize from ¾ to 1 million eggs.
Dave Fryda, Missouri River fisheries supervisor with the Game and Fish Department in Riverdale, said more than 100 Chinook were netted for spawning Monday and Tuesday alone.
 


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