Master Ponso talks about salmon, both old and juvenile! Mark ’em, tag ’em, fish ’em with a rod!
The Green Dragon Friday lecture series continues, this time with a talk about salmon! Master Ponso held this one Friday April 28 2017.
Please let me know if you’d like to sign up for a lecture yourself! Green Dragon Friday is a hobbit roleplaying event held on the LOTRO Laurelin server, every Friday between 2:30PM – 4:30PM servertime. Format-wise, GDF lectures should last no more than 10-15 minutes when delivered by in-game text messages in /say chat. This means that the lectures are rarely exhaustive treatments, but rather quick talks to whet the audience’s appetite to topics of hobbit interest.
The salmon lecture
Tonight I want to talk a bit of salmon and the strange way in which they develop. But before we do that I want to introduce you to a fish we’ve long known as the Parr.
Now it’s unlikely that you’ve ever caught a Parr. Them’s very timid fish and keep away from the the streams and rivers you find in the Shire. A small, slender fish, not much on ‘em to eat, between a hand and two hands in length. And marked with bars on their sides that hide them well in reeds and water weed.
Well, I’d caught a few of these Parr in my time and the funny thing is… Although they looked as though the should grow bigger, I could never find one that looked anything like full-grown. All the Parr I ever caught were what we call juvenile.
Well this was a right puzzle to me. Either the Parr all got etten, in which case there would be none to breed… Well that wasn’t right!
Or they all moved away before they were grown up. But then…where did they move too?
None of it made sense.
So… I figured out a kind of experiment. I made meself some metal tags I could attach to the Parrs’ fins without harming them. And I tagged and let free a number of Parr I caught over the period of a few years.
Over the next two or three years I continued to catch the Parr I’d tagged, after which they just disappeared. I was none the wiser. I still couldn’t tell what happened to the Parr so I gave up tagging them.
Then one day, somet really odd happened. I was fishing in the Brandywine when I caught a salmon, a fairly big one. And there, attached to the fin was a tag!
I had a careful look at it and I was convinced that it was one of mine. I checked the number against my records and it was seven years old! Now that was a right surprise. I wondered if someone had caught my Parr and used the tag on a salmon! It was the only explanation I could imagine.
But then I caught another tagged salmon, and another. Now I already knew that the salmon grew up in the sea, which is why they can be found in the Brandywine. Them swim up from the sea every year.
So if the salmon were tagged in the sea, it means that the Parr must have swum all the way to the sea. Someone caught the Parr there and transferred the tags…maybe.
Then it hit me…
The Parr was actually a juvenile salmon!
Now about this time we had a Salmon Run coming up, some of you might have remembered it. I asked Penina to ask folk who found tags to hand in the salmon they had found that were tagged. And what I found was that all the salmon we found had been Parr I had tagged seven years before!
Then it all fell into place. The salmon swim up the Brandywine to spawn after which they die. The eggs hatch into fry and then grow into Parr. The Parr spend two or three years in the waters of the lake and the upper Brandywine before swimming down to the estuary. They stay there up to a year where they get used to the salt water, lose their stripes and get to be known as Smolts. Then they head out to sea and we don’t see them again until they are ready to spawn
Given the age of the tags I reckoned that stayed at sea for up to five years before they found their way back to exactly the same place. How they manage to do that is a complete mystery!!
So that’s the salmon: a most mysterious fish!