February 24, 2022 Slideshows » Life + Outdoors

Spawning Coho Salmon 

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Photo by Mark Larson
Prime coho salmon spawning habitat in Jacoby Creek was preserved by the Jacoby Creek Land Trust.
Photo by Mark Larson
A dead spawning coho salmon floats in the South Fork Elk River at Headwaters Forest Preserve. Observing coho salmon spawning in South Fork Elk River in the Headwaters Forest Preserve, I found it an extraordinary moment to watch the final moments of the lives of these salmon that were born in this river, then headed downstream and lived a full life out in the ocean, and then returned to their birth stream to spawn...and then their life force fades away as their bodies slowly deteriorate and die. Their bodies are then distributed by wildlife into the trees as nutrients.
Photo by Mark Larson
Spawning male coho salmon in South Fork Elk River at Headwaters Forest Preserve battle for access to the female coho salmon laying their eggs in the redd.
Photo by Mark Larson
A spawned out coho salmon floats in the shallows of Jacoby Creek along Quarry Road just under the bridge. Its body shows the worn out gills and deteriorating flesh caused by the spawning activity at end of life and the effects of returning to fresh water from the ocean.
Photo by Mark Larson
A coho salmon swims in the shallows of Jacoby Creek along Quarry Road. Its body shows the worn out gills and deteriorating flesh caused by the spawning activity at end of life and the effects of returning to fresh water from the ocean.
Photo by Mark Larson
A spawned-out coho salmon rests on its side, still alive and pumping water through its gills in Jacoby Creek. A powerful moment for me to have a close-up look at a spawned-out coho salmon In Jacoby Creek, as its heart was still beating its final moments and on its side and still pumping shallow water through its gills. The evidence of its vigorous spawning activity and effects of returning to fresh water from life in salt water are in its worn out fins and deteriorating flesh. "Coho salmon are semelparous, meaning they produce offspring only once, and then die after reproduction. Their upstream spawning migration takes a heavy toll on their body due to both physical exertion and the severe change from saltwater to freshwater conditions." https://www.nps.gov/.../frequently-asked-coho-salmon...
Photo by Mark Larson
A huge big leaf maple tree stands along side a large pool in South Fork Elk River in the Headwaters Forest Preserve on a winter day.
Photo by Mark Larson
A November walk on a rainy day along the south Fork Elk River in the Headwaters Forest Preserve led us to this large pool that included recently fallen trees placed in the water as part of the salmon fisheries habitat-improvemen project.
Photo by Mark Larson
The new "Wood is Good" signs along the unpaved nature trail explains those recently downed logs in the South Fork Elk River in the Headwaters Forest Preserve. They've dropped logs into the stream to improve fish habitat (calling it "accelerated recruitment) in this logged-over habitat.
Photo by Mark Larson
The new "Wood is Good" signs along the unpaved nature trail explains those recently downed logs in the South Fork Elk River in the Headwaters Forest Preserve. They've dropped logs into the stream to improve fish habitat (calling it "accelerated recruitment) in this logged-over habitat.
More slideshows
Jennifer Fumiko Cahill6 images
Mark McKenna33 images
Mark Larson11 images
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Photo by Mark Larson
A coho salmon swims in the shallows of Jacoby Creek along Quarry Road. Its body shows the worn out gills and deteriorating flesh caused by the spawning activity at end of life and the effects of returning to fresh water from the ocean.

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