Your embarking on a 900-mile journey from the Pacific Ocean with over 6,500 feet in elevation gain, and 8 mammoth hydroelectric dams stand in your way. But there’s something engrained in you that tugs and inspires you to embark on the biggest, longest, and last epic journey of your life. You’ll be returning home, to your birthplace, to the very waters that you hatched in - those cool, clear Idaho waters. Your lineage stems from a population of salmon that straddles the Southern boundary of your range, the boarder of home and a vast world unsuitable for the likes of Sockeye. As you look around, you find that you’re not alone in this journey, but then again, your just one of a thousand or so other redfish, hook-jawed or hens with noses pointed upstream, bound for Idaho’s Redfish Lake. Yet stories of redfish so thick that these waters once churned with radiant, ruby-hued life remain like cold air lingering over morning meadow, a fond memory still told and re-told around campfires on these river banks – a memory held tightly, one that keeps hope alive that someday the great migrations will return.
Here, from the brow Washington’s Palouse Falls, a passing raven with a keen eye for mighty waters may be able to see the vast Snake River that runs just a few miles downstream from this pothole in the high desert. No sockeye salmon come this way, it’s far too hot; that desert baked water’s no place for a salmon.