Posted on December 1, 2009
It may not be rare in Alaska but in the Continental U.S. it is. Every Year right in the middle of the Civic Center of Bellingham 20,000+ fish race up a cascading stream to spawn. These salmon are large and delicious to eat if cooked right away or smoked. Many of the local homeless people and needy families eat well during this November to early January fish run. The seen is right out of a fisherman's fairytale. Just below the Downtown Post office and Stately Victorian City Museum Building ( formally the Bellingham City Hall) runs Whatcom Falls Creek. Fisherman and women, line each side of the creek jigging their rods with their barbless hooks ( in most cases) hoping to snag a Humpy Salmon ( some of the purest fisherman have a bright pink or day glow green lure on the hook in hopes that it will irritate the salmon and they may strike at it but most are snagged. At the time this rum happens the fish are not interested in feeding only in propagating the species. I have been there several times over the last 10 years when as many as 4 anglers on the NW side of the stream have a fish on. All the fisher persons cooperate with the lucky anglers, and allow them to walk pass to the cement and steel stairs that they reel and pull in the fish on, to either net or grab by the tail ( the preferred method for those who catch and release into a large plastic tube that allows the fish to swim into the adjacent Hatchery to be spawned). What a beautiful site to see our clear connection to the wild abundance of the Sea right in the middle of commerce.
When Captain Vancouver came into Bellingham Bay ( he so named after a Stores officer back in England) when he went ashore he was met by local First Nation Peoples ( both the Nooksac and the Lummi Indian tribes claim to have been there), Captain Vancouver asked what do you call this place? : referring to the whole region. That answer was Watecum misunderstanding the question and referring the the cascading noisy water. So Whatcom County is names for noisy water in Salish language.
Also note that Captain Vancouver was the Cabin boy of Captain Cook and had been to the Northwest before with Cook looking for the northwest passage and general exploration, Captain Bly was Cooks first Officer.
So grab your poles ( and if your are over 12 years of age get your fishing license and catch dinner.