Saturday, August 11, 2012

On August 11th, 2012, Chinook King Salmon began returning upstream to spawn on the 53rd day of summer. On the day of the King Coho, what journey do you have planned for 41 summers days left?


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources had to reduce the alewife
population in the Great Lakes, which made up 90 percent of the fish
life in the Great Lakes. The Alewife had arrived from the Atlantic
ocean, and the DNR introduced a species from the Pacific Ocean, the
Chinook Salmon. The department executed this brilliant move in 1967,
and the alewife doesn't litter the beaches as a dying plague anymore.
I understand that the Chinook has taken well to the rivers of
Patagonia, swimming all 620 miles to the headwaters of the Rio Santa
Cruz river. It took only a single stocking in 1930 to establish the
Patagonian runs. We have fisherman excitedly fishing the waters of the
Manistee River as we speak, with hotels putting out signs to welcome
them. The run on the White, Muskegon and Grand Rivers has yet to
start, and the conditions will be right in a few days, if not weeks.
The Chinook have an number of dams, starting in Newaygo County, that
make it difficult for Chinooks to reach the headwaters in Houghton
Lake. At least one of those dams has operating permits reaching
decades into the future.

On another note, across from the power generating reservoir in
Ludington, Michigan, an army of white power turbine towers have arisen
on the rolling hills to the east of US-31. Several towers look
complete, with turbine blades installed. Most are still towers under
assembly, although I noticed an orange crane attending only tower
under construction. I have passed through that corridor almost every
Friday night since March, and that's the first I've noticed this
remarkable spectacle. The spectacle amazes me as much as the wind farm
on the narrow strip of Canadian land between Lake Erie and Lake St.
Clair, the wind turbines dominating the countryside, starting at
Wheatley and reaching to Blenheim and all the way towards Chatham. I
would gladly countenance one thousand wind turbines for the removal of
one dam from the Muskegon River or the Grand River.

A friend from work invited me to come out Salmon fishing with him, and
he asked for my phone number. That's when the salmon were in the
lakes, a month ago. I always wonder about those work connections. A
friend from work invited me to come ice fishing with him, drink the
schnapps and all that. That fellow has gone to his retirement and the
lake didn't freeze over last year. I like the two men, but we are all
so busy, busy, busy when we have jobs that make us accountable for
results of a major corporation. In Norfolk Virginia, any schlep, and I
apply that term to myself, could board a fishing boat at night, pay
twenty five dollars and be issued a fishing pole, tackle and bait for
a night on the water. That might be a good activity for a night like
this, where I am writing and have no plans for when I am done writing.
A night on the water with a charter boat, and that's a classy
activity, could cost much more than twenty-five dollars. As another
good friend from work who has a cabin he built right on the Muskegon
River, the captains, "put you right on the fish". When he calls for
assistance with his reports, I always ask him, "No help if you haven't
been fishing this week".

I have never directly put myself on the river while the Chinook have
run, although I have walked the piers. I was walking the channel pier
of Bluffton, pointing into Lake Muskegon, and I saw a few signs of the
fish presence under that water, but I saw no fishermen. A woman I had
struck a conversation up with remarked that she remembered when the
pier was thronged with sportsmen hoping to hook on of the fighting

I have seen a few fish rising to flies as I have driven by the Grand.
This year, just to prove that I am alive, I'll stand in the water of
the Muskegon River out at Sheridan Landing and watch the upstream
striving Salmon pass to my right and my left. I hope I don't piss off
the real fishermen. I might work with a few of the real fishermen who
will be stunned to see me wading in the waters like some lost bear.

The King of the Great Lakes

Wheatley, Ontario,_Ontario

By the way, I totally loved this movie, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
The farm fished Atlantic Salmon, when introduced to a river in the
Yemen mountains, remember the natural impulse to swim upstream. What
natural impulses might I remember, given the correct circumstances,

The Scots fish for Atlantic Salmon, which probably grow fat upon prawns:

No comments: