The recent rains are finally starting to raise the water level in the Nehalem River. This is very much needed for the wild salmon. Two years ago, the salmon that were hatched in this area want to return to lay eggs and get them fertilized. Until now, the water level has been so low, the salmon would not have been able to make the journey this far. They had been spotted about 20 miles downriver more than a month ago and they have been waiting in the deep pools for the rains to come.
Once a salmon moves from ocean salt water up a river and start into fresh water, they begin to degenerate. Slowly at first, they don’t appear to be stressed with the change in their surroundings. By the time they are in the fresh water a month or two, their skin withers, any little scrape or bump causes the flesh to rip and tear.
The longer the salmon have to linger before reaching the spawning ground, the more opportunities show to cause them mortal injuries.
As the water level looks right now, strong salmon would be able to power their way through the low water spots near the crossings in the river before finding seclusion in deeper pools.
We can watch the top fins of the larger fish as they bump along the rock bottom of the river when they finally make it this far. We are watching daily to see if the fish are strong enough after their delay for the water level.