Friday November 11, 2022

Turtle Island Restoration Network

The gentle rains of the last week have brought endangered coho salmon back to Lagunitas Creek in west Marin County. 

Wild coho salmon return to their natal streams with the first fall rains and can be observed spawning from November through January when conditions are right.  

The bright red two-foot long fish are returning from the ocean to where they were born to complete their ancient ritual of laying their eggs to perpetuate their species before dying and becoming fertilizer for the redwood trees that line the creek.

“It’s an incredible spectacle to watch these fish leap waterfalls, hear them splash around as they maneuver up shallow riffles, and witness the hooked-nose males fight for the opportunity to fertilize the female’s eggs in the nest she builds and protects until death,” said Ayano Hayes, Watershed Biologist for SPAWN. “This is the part of their epic journey of coming home, as these fish left their natal streams a year and half ago for the ocean as cigar-sized fish. The ones that have survived their ocean phase are now migrating back as two-foot adults after only 18 months at sea.”

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