I used to enjoy this when I was at school

The run, not the runs, not running either, another sport I never much cared for apart from cross country
running through the woods and splashing through puddles……. no doubt why I enjoyed Trials so much
….. I digress once more, but anyway “The Run” is now in full swing as our local Salmon leave the
sanctuary of McPhee Reservoir and make their way back up the Dolores River to spawn.

The Kokanee salmon on their “Run”

How the hell do they do it and why? One of the many secrets of life we may never understand but they
are doing it once again. Colorado Wildlife helps the process by catching the lucky or unlucky fish as
they come upstream and harvest eggs and sperm and then nurture them through the winter and
release the fingerlings back into the river next March.

“Who wants a fish ?”

The local paper says that there will be a “fish giveaway” at the local park so I naively went along to get
my free fish on production of my fishing license. Hmmmm! seems all 40 of us would be free loaders
are not getting a fish but its 35 each!!! Yes, they have over 1200+ in their bucket and of course left to
nature all of these would die after the spawning process so we are doing a double harvest on nature’s
bounty by preserving the species and having some fine dining to boot!

1200+ Kokanee up for grabs

It seems these fish run up the river to mile marker 16 where, if they are not caught or eaten by
predators, they spawn then flop about until death arrives. Next month we are allowed to go “Snagging”
whereby you cast a triple hook across the pools and then drag back until you connect with one and
then haul it sideways to the shore. Pretty barbaric but thats life up here in the Mountains!

I thought they would be this size!

I don’t have the full “SP” on these salmon as yet but I’m sure it will make some interesting reading
when the snow arrives. I was expecting some goodly fish in the 6-8 lb bracket but these are all pretty
small by my idea of spawning fish and were only about 2-3 years old and 14 inches long. Not quite
the same as the giant sockeyes turning red and thrashing around in 2 inches of Alaska’s streams.

Here comes supper

November 15th is the start of the snagging season, but as the Wildlife people are already catching
them I wonder how long this “run” goes on for. I took a walk over to the river yesterday expecting to
see some red fish battling their way through the mini waterfalls in the shallows…….. not even a sign
of any activity!


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