“The salmon are coming! The salmon are coming!” Up and down the Pacific Coast the call has been sounded for what may be a record run of salmon. Annually, salmon make a pilgrimage up west coast rivers and tributaries to the location where their lives began and where they will spawn and die. It is a four-year life cycle that has captivated the imagination of those who have lived along the west coast for centuries. Records show that in the pre-European settlement era salmon were extremely plentiful and were the life-blood of the indigenous peoples that inhabited the land. Settlement brought exploitation of the riches of the land including the salmon. Over the decades salmon populations have been decimated by over fishing, polluted waters and disease.
Four years ago, unexpectedly, a record salmon run occurred. This year the offspring of that run are returning to end their life cycle and start one anew. The run this year could prove to be another record setter. Perhaps the conservation measures that have been established are beginning to pay off. Hopefully, salmon runs in the years between these large runs will start to increase. The Adam’s River Sockeye Salmon run in late September is likely the most famous run of salmon. It occurs in the Adam’s River a tributary of the Thompson/Fraser river systems. Easy access to the river has allowed thousands of visitors to witness this spectacle.
An earlier run, the Scotch Creek Salmon run, is also a spectacular event. It occurs in early to mid September. Four years ago Scotch Creek ran red with the returning salmon. Subsequent years have not been nearly as prolific. But this year’s run should be very heavy again.
The Scotch Creek Salmon run is not so well known. It doesn’t attract the same level of interest that the Adam’s River run does. For this reason I like to find my way to Scotch Creek and photograph the returning salmon. Most important though is the fact that Scotch Creek is more accessible. I’m able to get down into the creek bed and photograph the salmon as they slowly make their way up the fast moving stream.The returning salmon will often rest in pool or slack water to gather their strength. It’s easy to wander from pool to pool and capture images ans the
salmon slowly move about. But I prefer to set my camera on a tripod. With a remote trigger and the camera set to a slow shutter speed I can make images that show the motion of the creek. The effect is dramatic.
So, in next week I’ll drive up to Scotch Creek to photograph the returning Sockeye Salmon. Perhaps, a Balk Eagle or even a black bear will be there feeding of the salmon. Now that would make for some interesting images.