This week DOB's Rotary club released a load of hatchlings into a local creek, so we went to watch. The directions we had said "Behind the auto parts store" so we spent some time wandering amongst the machinery and asking befuddled auto parts workers before we realized we were supposed to proceed a couple of blocks up and down a dead end.
Envisioning the release as the opening of a mighty gate and rushing of many waters, we thought we would be too late. But it was a far more labor-intensive process. First the fish had to be loaded into coolers, and trucked up to the creek. Then they were dipped into the creek, a few at a time.
In addition to the ducklings, we had their 20 month old small cousin (SC) along. She is of an altogether different temperament than the ducklings at that age: highly mobile, ready for anything and overjoyed at the prospect of swimming with the fishes and rolling in the mud. Amazingly, she never fell in over her knees.
It turns out salmon hatchlings are really dumb. Even though we made every effort to release them in actual water, a large portion of them immediately made their best effort to swim into the mud. It took quite a while after the initial release to convince as many hatchlings as possible to leave the mud and go where they could actually breathe. And many of them returned to the mud as fast as you threw them in. This diminishes my confidence in the benefits of fish oil for the brain--it doesn't seem to be doing the fish much good.
Nobody fell all the way in and nobody ate a fish, so we will have to go back and do it again.