Around 9:30 am I headed out to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery along the American River. I’d missed the bird-watching thing there last weekend, and also missed the cut off date for their salmon egg-gathering stuff (which was yesterday), but I still got to see a lot of neat stuff. There are, of course, all sorts of holding and feeding tanks for the fish (salmon and trout), and the ladders for the salmon, some great views of the American River and all sorts of water birds. I saw one big salmon working his way up the ladders. He got to about the 5th step and then just ran out of gas and fell back down into the lower step. I saw several different kinds of gulls, some cormorant, two Green Herons, three Black-Crowned Nigh Herons, and several different kinds of ducks (including Mallards and Cinnamon Teals). Some of the heron were very “trixie” and had found their way through the fences and netting, and were all sitting above the holding tanks just waiting for the place to close so they could swoop down and steal fish. There is a short pathway below where the holding tanks are that takes you right along the river, and you can get some great water shots there. The place is exceedingly “visitor friendly” and even has little vending machines with fish food in them so you can feed the fish in the holding tanks and runs.
Here’s a short video of the bigger fish. Each of these guys is as long as my arm.
Outside the visitors’ center is a giant salmon that kids can climb on and inside of; and it’s surrounded by a long half-moon shaped bench covered in mosaics of the different kinds of fish, birds and animals that live along the river. Inside the visitors’ center there are a lot of displays and a huge pile of ginormous faux roe in the middle of the floor. Some of the displays are huge fish heads; you put your head into the fish head and it talks to you about its life experiences; very Vulcan mind-meld like.
I enjoyed the place a lot… and ended up with over 190 images and video clips! Of course, it took me about 10 crap pictures to get the camera to see through the water to the fish, but I finally got the hang of that. Hah! The next big run of Steelhead is supposed to come through there in January and February. I’ll have to keep an eye on their website and FaceBook feed to see when they’re doing their next egg-gathering event.