Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ode to Big John #67 3pps 38lbs

A good friend sent us this. Thought we would share. Enjoy!

The Life and Times of a Columbia River Salmon

Johnny hatched out back in '81 far up a tributary, shaded from the sun up in the rugged Bitteroot Mountains where the clear, cold water cascaded in fountains. He could not know the dangers ahead, or to where the flowing waters led. He dodged large fishes and sharp bird's bills as he struggled his way down from the hills. His gills were tortured by chemicals and silt when he reached the first dam where no water was spill't.

For three days he searched, and no exit was found, so on the fourth day, he decided to sound. He was blasted through, to the terrace below, little did he know he had 8 more dams to go. With half his scales gone, and a rip in one fin, he fought bravely onward determined to win! After passing three dams, which was awful scary, 30 days later he arrived at McNary. Up a long screen then down a lnog slide, then a nitrogen brand was burned in his side, and not being lucky, he once more was chose to have a fin clipped, and a coded wire placed in his nose.

He was dumped on a barge, with 1000's of his kind, and caught a disease which nearly left him blind. Below Bonneville... he was pumped from the hull, and narrowly missed by a diving sea-gull.

One hundred fifty more miles he flowed with the tide, I suppose you could say, he had quite a ride. After many months he'd reached the Pacific, and it was there that his appetite became quite prolific. He gorged on small fish, it felt good to be free, as he ate his way up to the Bering Sea. He had a great time, but he must not forget there are seals, sea-lions, sharks, or a Japanese net. One day while feeding near the Canadian shore he ate many small fish, but wanted one more. He struck the herring and felt the cold steel after a furious fight, the line broke at the reel.

Four years had passed and he'd increased much in girth, and he felt an urge to return to his place of birth. Heading South, he passed countless bays, and many a beach towards that famous old river he might never reach. How he found it, who knows? His keen sense of smell? He has many secrets, he may never tell. Since he last passed this place it had been many moons passed the lower Willamette and the call of the loons. A long way to go, he'd have quite a fight, with a festering wound, from an old seal bite. Using powerful thrusts he surged up the stream, How many more perils, he could never dream.

On the fifth day, in a setting sun, he once more reached Bonneville, he'd made quite a run. He passed the window, where people would watch, cheer, and clap, but before leaving the dam he was caught in a trap. He didn't the anesthetic, but what really got his goat, was when a radio-transmitter was rammed down his throat. Tossed back in the river, with the rest of his pals, he was drugged and tired, as he swam for the Dalles. As he passed the Dalles, and streaked for John Day he found a cool trib and decided to stay. He wouldn't have stayed with is chances and bets of getting through that maze of Indian nets. He got all tangled up in the nylon mesh, and barely escaped with torn up flesh. He beeped past McNary and through the last dam, then found a trick had been played, by old Uncle Sam. While he was gone a new dam was made, far below where his mothers egg's were laid. “For Flood Control” the Corp had said, but in a few short weeks, old John would be dead. He had instinctively dreamed of returning, and then making advances to a pretty old hen. But in the great barrier, no latter was built, so with a ragged body, and wasted milt he died on the shore. As people came to look at the last of a breed of spring chinook. What could have happened? They said, who could have failed? Then men responsible ought to be Jailed!

-Ole Mossback