Hello folks who wonder if gyms are more crowded in the first week of the year than the attendance at Coachella festival,

Silicon Valley is blessed with many things like exorbitant housing costs, $12 non-gmo-organic-locally sourced Avocado toasts, amusing traffic congestions on 101 and dwindling Salmon runs.

Chinook Salmon are anadromous which means they spend most of their lives in saltwater habitat like oceans but return to freshwater habitats like rivers and creeks to spawn(lay eggs).
The Chinook Salmon in the Bay Area swim from Pacific Ocean into the San Francisco Bay and onto creeks like Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek.
These adult salmon fishes will die soon after they lay and fertilize their eggs. Once they hatch, they will spend a few months in the freshwater habitat before swimming to a lifetime of 9-5 job in the ocean.

The video below shows the different life stages of the Salmon.


Adult Salmon can spend several years in the ocean before they decide they want to start a family albeit without them. But it is not as easy as putting in their two weeks' notice and head towards the river.

While at the ocean, Salmon pile on the pounds like most of us during the holidays. This fat is going to sustain them for the upstream journey, since they stop eating and shut down their digestive system once they enter the freshwater.

This is where keeping our creeks clean comes into play. For trash and other obstructions in the creek will cause them to use all their energy before reaching their destination, which spells doom for the next generation.
Below are a couple of salmon fighting the upstream currents to reach their destination.


One of the more interesting facts about the Salmon spawning is their ability to return to the same river or creek where they were hatched. It is believed they use a combination of the home stream's unique smell, the circadian calendar and magnetic orientation to find their way back.

Once the females locate an ideal site to lay the eggs, she rapidly wiggles her tail to create depression in the stream gravel and lays the eggs. The male will come later and fertilize the eggs after that. Once the eggs are fertilized, the female will cover the eggs with gravel to increase their chances of survival.

These places where eggs are laid are called redds and can be easily spotted when you look at the creek and observe a spot which suspiciously looks cleaner than the rest. Just like my roommates who think it's so weird that I am always looking at my desktop wallpaper anytime someone walks to my room.
Below is a redd to show how they stand out in the creek.


If this journey does not look intimidating enough, Salmon have another thing to worry about. Pacific Lamprey are fishes that resemble eels who parasitize salmon and other kinds of fish. They have the same cycle as salmon where they need to swim upstream to freshwater habitat to spawn.

Below is an image which shows how they attach themselves to a salmon.


To make their lives easier, they will frequently hitch a ride on the salmon, feeding on it while the salmon is swimming upstream on an empty stomach.

Below are some signs that a salmon was parasitized by the pacific lamprey at some point in time.


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