Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Journey's End

This morning I went for a short walk along Willits Creek. I spotted two female Chinook Salmon still digging out their redds (nests) in the gravel of the creek. Though there were no male salmon in sight in which to fertilize them.There was also one nice sized dead salmon lying in the creek bottom.It's amazing to think what that salmon survived in its journey make it this far in order to spawn. The Chinook Salmon that spawn in Willits Creek typically spend three to five years or sometimes longer living in the Pacific Ocean before they head upriver to spawn.They travel south up the Eel River a distance of over 130 miles up the river. When they reach Outlet Creek they hang a right and go another 20 miles or so. Upon reaching the confluence of Willits Creek they head southwest another five miles.By the time they have reached this point in their journey they are pretty beat up and bruised from all of the rocks and rapids they have fought their way up.The females find a spot in the creek gravel that meets their liking. They turn sideways and dig a hole in the gravel in which to lay their eggs. The male then goes over the top of the nest and fertilizes the whole nest. The female then moves upstream of the nest and covers it in gravel. She will guard the nest for a few days and then all the adult salmon die.Leaving behind another generation waiting to hatch,go down river to the ocean and start the cycle all over again. The end of a long journey God's blessings to all, chris

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