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CC1 11 1918
UNIV. OF MICH.
Washington Historical Quarterly
CLARENCE B. BAGLEY, Seattle.
H. F. HUNT.
VOL. IX. NO. 4
F. W. HOWAY, New Westminster, B. C.
T. C. ELLIOTT.
CLARENCE L. ANDREWS....The Salmon of Alaska.
EDMOND S. MEANY..
W. D. LYMAN, Walla Walla.
EDMOND S. MEANY...... . Origin of Washington Geographic Names
INDEX TO VOLUME IX..
Slavery Among the Indians of
David Thompson's Journeys in the
THE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Entered as second-class matter, November 15, 1906, at the Postoffice at
Principal Articles in the Washington Historical Quarterly
VOLUMES I. and II.
Contribution toward a bibliography of Marcus Whitman.. Charles W. Smith
.T. C. Elliott
.Stella E. Pearce
The Pacific Ocean and the Northwest
Sol H. Lewis
Walla Walla and Missoula.
Frank H. Woody
From Missoula to Walla Walla in 1857 on horseback.
Thomas W. Prosch
The pioneer dead of 1912.
A survey of Alaska, 1743-1799
Washington Territory fifty years ago..
Early Days at White Salmon and The Dalles....
Proposed amendments to the State Constitution of Washington...Leo Jones
Frank A. Golder
Camilla Thomson Donnell
The West and American Ideals.
Eliza and the Nez Perce Indians..
George W. Soliday
Edmond S. Meany
Independence Day in the Far Northwest.
.Isaac H. Whealdon
The Story of the Me rcer Expeditions.
Organizers of the First Government in Oregon.
A Survivor of Four Wars..
Clarence B. Bagley
W. J. Trimble The Columbia River under Hudson's Bay Company Rule. C. O. Ermatinger Three Diplomats Prominent in the Oregon Question. .Edmond S. Meany History of the Liquor Laws of the State of Washington..Anna Sloan Walker Divorce in Washington...
Ralph R. Knapp
Frederick J. Turner
Old Oregon Territry..
Guy Vernon Bennett
The Fur Trade in the Columbia River Basin Prior to 1811......T. C. Elliott
Thomas W. Prosch
Victor J. Farrar
Dillis B. Ward
Pioneer and Historical Societies of Washington..
W. P. Winans
J. N. Bowman
.Nelson C. Titus
George H. Himes
Junius Thomas Turner
Flora A. P. Engle
W. B. Seymore
John Martin Canse
THE SALMON OF ALASKA
One of the important resources of the nation for providing food for the forces employed in the Great War is the canned salmon of Alaska. During 1917 there were nearly six million cases of salmon packed in the Territory, enough to furnish a case of forty-eight pounds to each soldier on the battle front of the allied line in France; over a quarter of a billion pounds of food preserved in the finest manner for shipment and storage. Twenty-eight hundred and forty-one cars of a capacity of one hundred thousand pounds each would be required to transport it. So popular is it that genuine jealousy was manifested on the battlefront when captured prisoners were fed on canned salmon, while their captors were being served with cans of "bully beef" for a ration.
In addition to the pack of canned salmon, there is a vast quantity of the fish prepared in other ways - kippered, mild-cured, smoked, dry-salted, and frozen-amounting to over eight million pounds annually. The value of the salmon exports from Alaska for 1917 was $42,774,738,1 and every pound of the product a fine, clean, strong, portable food.
In a thousand inlets along the coasts of Alaska, from the delightful cove of Naha Bay to the crescent beach of Unalaska, the salmon may be seen, leaping from the water, gleaming like a silver bow. In Lynn Canal, in the tide rips about Forrester Island, about Cape Ommaney, in a hundred other places, the glint of the trolling spoon sparkles as it is thrown from the stern of the fishing boats, for no more royal sport is found in the pursuit of finny prey than is afforded by the king salmon.
Five species of salmon are found in the waters of the Territory: the king salmon (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha), sockeye or red salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), silver or coho salmon, (Oncorhynchus kisutch), dog or chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta), and the humpback or pink
1 Report of the Collector of Customs for Alaska, 1918.
salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbusha). The scientific names are from the Russian language and are those adopted by Steller, the scientist, who sailed with Bering, nearly two hundred years ago, to the coasts of America.
The red salmon seeks a stream with a lake at the head; the chum chooses waters which may be thick with glacial silt, for he does not seem to be particular; the king goes up the longer rivers, sometimes fifteen hundred to two thousand miles from the sea,2 to place their eggs in the gravels of the smaller branches. In a nest hollowed in the bottom of a stream the female places her ovum, over which the milt of the male is spread, and the pebbles and sand are carefully overlaid to prevent the ever-greedy trout robbing the hidden hoard. The young salmon are hatched and slowly make their way back to the ocean to remain till their time comes to return. The period which elapses before they again seek the fresh water is not accurately known. Many experiments have been made and many theories advanced, but no on knows to a certainty. From four to twelve years have been the estimates made by different investigators as the time they roam the ocean depths before they return.
When the salmon come to maturity, and the instinct to perpetuate the species comes to them with irresistible force, they seek a stream of fresh water, up which they force their way to the spawning ground or beat out their life against the rocky barriers on the way. Nothing short of death stands in the way of their desire. Along the inlets move millions of the fish, thronging the watersways, filling the bays, crowding the mouths of the stream; impelled by the strange, mysterious force which drives them on, inevitably to die, for if accident or enemy does not prevent their progress, they lay the foundation for the fry of the future, and then drift on the bars, battered, discolored and dying. After the demands of nature are satisfied, it is said that no salmon returns to the ocean.
The popular belief is that the salmon return to the same stream in which they are hatched to find a place to spawn. This, like the belief that all salmon die after spawning, is not proven, but is true of most cases. That it is not true without exception is shown by the fact that every year hundreds of fish may be found flinging themselves at impossible falls up which no salmon was ever able to ascend and above which no salmon was ever hatched. In other cases, certain marked fish have been taken on their return to fresh water miles away
2 The salmon ascend the Lewes River so far as the lower end of Lake Marsh, where they were seen in considerable numbers early in September. Dawson, Report on Exploration Made in 1887 in the Yukon District, N. W. T.