Excerpt from Report of Commissioners of Fisheries of the State of California for the Years 1870 and 1871
Salmon, after the second year from being hatched, pass the greater part of the time in the ocean; they there find their principal food. While in fresh water their growth is slow, in salt water they increase in size and weight with great rapidity. They can only breed in shallow streams of cool, fresh water, such as they find in the tributaries of our rivers descending from the mountains. To such places tbey annually resort; and to reach them, they will make the most extraordinary exertions. Salmon are caught by the Indians in the small streams that empty into the Sacramento from the sides of Mount Shasta, at an elevation of more than four thousand feet above the level of the sea; to reach which they must have passed through at least fifty miles of almost continuous rapids. Bishop Farr states that salmon are also caught in the headwaters of Snake River, east of Salt Lake. As Snake River is a tributary 'of the Columbia, these fish must annually make a journey into the interior of more than thousand miles from the ocean.
Some breeding fish enter our rivers during the summer, but they do not deposit their eggs until late in the autumn. During the time they remain in fresh water they lose in weight, and the quality of their ﬂesh deteriorates; its color becomes nearly white, and it ceases to be firm. The great army arrives in our rivers after the first heavy rains. Upon arriving they seek the brackish water in the vicinity of where the salt and fresh waters meet. Here they remain for several days, or perhaps weeks. It is supposed that the brackish water kills the small parasites which attach to them in the ocean. It is this instinct that retains them in brackish water that gives to Rio Vista its prominence as a fishing point.
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