When spring arrives in the Pacific Northwest, bright tender leaves unfurl, snowdrops and balsam root push up through winter’s brown blanket, and neighbors spill from their homes after holing up for the dark, damp months of the year. We awaken, stretch, and emerge; eager to reconnect after a winters-long hermitage.
In cold waters running from mountains to sea, another emergence is happening. From March through June, tiny salmon fry rise from gravel nests, their stomachs still distended yolk sacs. As they draw down their yolk stores, juvenile salmon begin feeding on the stream’s insect life. There are six anadromous salmon species in the Pacific Northwest — Chinook, coho, sockeye, pink, chum, and steelhead. As juveniles, each species specializes in a slightly different cuisine and method of foraging food, as well as the amount of time they spend in freshwater before heading out to sea.
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