Report for October 31, 2012 by Rich Yarges
I visited Maloney Creek today during a brief respite from the rain. The weatherman is predicting possibly heavy rain tonight. The creek was actually lower than yesterday. This surprised me because we did have some rain last night. I guess it wasn’t enough to keep the creek high. The flow has almost ceased in the Sediment Deposition Zone. I am glad I went though, because I got my best pictures yet.
I entered at Thelma Street and walked upstream from there. At the root wad the hydrologist had planted just below the Staircase Fall I spotted some salmon. These salmon were Chinook (aka: Tyee or King) and they were definitely in spawning mode. There appeared to be a female tucked up under the root wad and I could only see her tail sticking out a little. There were three or four males cavorting (my unscientific description) around behind her. They appeared to be wrestling with each other to take up the position right behind her. There were also a few smaller salmon hanging back a little. I approached cautiously and got some very nice pictures. I was even able to get some underwater shots. The salmon were so intent on what they were doing that they let me get real close as long as I didn’t make any sudden movements. The smaller ones to the rear seemed more aware of me, as they would often disappear if I made any sudden movements. I was so close to the spawning males that I I kept getting splashed in the face by water they threw up with their tails. That added a little extra challenge to taking their picture. Here are some of my best photos:
I also walked downstream from Thelma Street. I kept looking around the root wads carefully, but I didn’t see any more salmon. I also went to the bridge over the Old Cascade Highway, but I didn’t see any more salmon there either.
If you want to see some wild salmon spawning now would be the time to visit Maloney Creek. Maloney is a nice place to observe them because you can get really close if you are careful.