Here is the second little video clip I captured of the Funny Farm 2012 salmon spawn. This time, there are three fish! We never see very many fish in our creek, so this was cool to see a group of them:
When salmon spawn, they stop eating. Their stomachs basically disintegrate, leaving room for sperm or eggs. The fish live off their stored fat hopefully long enough to spawn, then they run out of energy and die. To note, spawning fish don’t taste very good because their meat turns to mush. We’re always amazed that people want to fish these dying animals, but people aren’t always very smart about these things.
Males show up first and spar with each other. Then the female shows up and digs a shallow nest – she turns to one side and fans her tail, which we have witnessed many times. The nest in the gravel is called a redd. The eggs hopefully stick in the high water to come, as they won’t hatch for 3-4 months. Sometimes the female hangs around to guard her eggs for a couple of weeks, but eventually she will become weak, drift downstream, and die.
Her babies will hatch and a small percentage will survive long enough (2-3 years) to make their way to the ocean, where they will live and grow for a few more years. Then if they can survive the trip back upriver, they will return to their birthplace and attempt to create another generation.
Here’s a pic identifying one of the redds at the spawning area shown in the video:
We have a log tied at this spot that has become a nice habitat for spawning fish. There are other areas on our 3/4 mile of creek where fish could and probably do find good nesting sites, but this is one we can see and photograph easily. Even Jeep is getting used to hearing the familiar splash when we walk by on fall days. We’re always mesmerized by the sight of these animals, and try to do what we can to enhance and protect their habitat.