Saturday, November 29, 2008

Salmon Watching

The Daily Triplicate tells us there are salmon watching tours being organized by some local groups. What, no tours on the Eel?

How many of you have never seen salmon heading upstream to spawn? I've only really seen them once that I recall. It was after I first moved here back in '73.

Took a backpacking trip up to Redwood Creek right before the first rains were going to hit. I believe it was September or October. Parked my car in Arcata- for some reason not wanting the burden of having a car along- and hitchhiked north.

Got there quickly enough and headed up a trail along Redwood Creek. Crossed the river and, water being pretty clear, noticed salmon swimming upstream. For some reason I hadn't even thought that there might be salmon to see on that trip.

I thought that pretty cool and got the idea of trying to catch one. Didn't have a fishing pole so I found a long straight stick and sharpened it into a spear.

I'd been under the impression that salmon lose all caution when they're heading upstream and figured it would be easy to spear one just by standing in the shallow river and spearing one as it passed by. Such was not the case.

After about 20 minutes of the fish artfully dodging me and making it upstream, I gave up. I thought it would be so easy.

Left there the next morning. Good thing I did as I was not really prepared for the rain that came. The rest of that trip was really a fiasco. I was happy to have seen the salmon, but even happier when I finally made it home.


At 9:12 AM, Blogger Kym said...

If I lived further North, I would definitely do this. Count me as one who hasn't seen this (Okay, once when I was little.)

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Maybe Ernie B. can point you in the direction of some places on the Eel where you can watch the salmon?

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

I haven't watched salmon for a while, but we used to be able to go to just about any riffle and watch them spawn. A good place to watch them used to be at the mouth of Sprowel Creek. If there are any salmon in the river you can usually stand on the bridge to the airport and watch them. When they are running you can usually see a dozen or so there.

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WE USED to spear them regularly /used a pointed piece of rebar or just a pitch fork/ got really good at it/Mattole,Eel, Mad,LITTLE,Mill creek,Linsey Creek,Bear creek and others.Never owned a fishing pole till I was 12.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Carol said...

Bruce Slocum on the Ferndale side of the mouth of the Eel runs a tour boat service from his dock. Bruce is part of the Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team and knows all about the lower Eel River. His phone number is in the Ferndale/Petrolia section of the phone book.

At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Runs of Salmon used to go bank to bank at Three Corners Narket on their way to Freshwater and beyond. Was an awesome spectical in the 60's.


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