A kind of fish found principally in the Pacific Ocean, though a distant cousin, the Atlantic Salmon, can be found in the Atlantic. Salmon are usually a foot or two long, have grey-blue scales, and spend most of their time in the ocean, returning instinctively to the streams they were born in to spawn once a year. How they do this is subject to some debate: some think they navigate by the stars, others think they taste or smell the water. Both these theories are confused by the salmon near the mouth of the Fraser river in British Columbia, many of whom will, year after year, try to go through Boundary Bay (which used to be a passage though to the river - THOUSANDS of years ago), turn around, and go around it. Programmed in? Who knows. Salmon have a distinctive pink flesh, and are popular smoked and in sushi.

Salmon is anything but ordinary (this was in reference to a now nuked write-up that contained the text "an ordianry fish" and nothing more).

Salmon is a red meat fish with a high fat content. It is charachterized by it's strong flavor and oily texture. It is popular throughout the world either raw, smoked, poached, grilled, braised, boiled... well you get the idea.

There are many different varieties of salmon, where I live (in the Pacific Northwest) Chinook Salmon is quite popular, as is King Salmon.

Salmon is a "dual life" fish, in that during it's lifecycle it spends time in both fresh and salt water (as detailed in yam's writeup, so I need not elaborate).

Salmon is a versatile fish and can be cooked with a wide variety of seasonings ranging from simple lemon and butter sauces to heavy mesquite BBQ-style marinades. Many people are put off by salmon's strong odor and high fat content, however salmon meat is very high in protien and contains a good level of HDLs which aid in the lowering of harmful cholesterol.

There are five commonly accepted breeds of Alaskan salmon: the King, Silver, Red, Dog(or Chum) and Pink. The King is the largest variety, and some would argue the best tasting. The Silver salmon is by far the most fun to catch, with a high energy level and a serious desire not to be eaten. The Dog salmon is considered a worthless fish, having a very fishy flavor. It is typically used to feed dogs, or used as chum when fishing for other, better fish. The Red and the Pink are the varieties usually found in cans and supermarket smoked salmon packets.

Perhaps one of the most grisly sights I have ever seen was in late summer of '95, standing on the bank of the upper Nome River in Alaska. For as far as the eye can see, rotting salmon. The fish weren't dead yet, and they were rotting. You could see them in the stream, slowly swimming, their tails and fins barely connected to their bodies. The beachs were covered with millions of them, littering the tranquil vista with death and a smell the likes of which I haven't experienced since. Bears wouldn't eat them, so the flies would float like clouds near the banks of the river. A thousands tons of prize Alaskan Silver Salmon, rotting in the sun.

Similar to its Pacific cousins, species of Atlantic Salmon are spawned in gravel beds near the headwaters of streams, swim down to the Atlantic, live there several years growing big, then swim back again to spawn.

Unlike Pacific salmon, however, Atlantic salmon usually survive the experience of returning home to spawn, and swim back down to the ocean, and return to spawn again and again. The difference certainly derives from the more rugged terrain of the West Coast of North America, and thus the greater number of obstacles that Pacific Salmon have to surmount while fulfilling their destiny. It remains to be seen whether death after one spawning is an evolutionary adaptation, or the fish simply hitting physical limitations, being too beaten up after their trip upriver.

Unfortunately for the Atlantic Salmon, their yearly survival makes the entire population more sensitive to overfishing: each Atlantic Salmon caught represents a greater number of potential descendants lost than for a Pacific salmon. Overfishing, coupled with dams blocking spawning routes, pollution of the rivers fish must traverse, and, ironically, diseases and genetic nondiversity brought by escaped farmed salmon, wild Atlantic Salmon reached critically low levels in the 1990's.

The Atlantic Salmon is on the Endangered Species List in the United States, and Canadian salmon fishing is limited to one Inuit community on Ungava Bay. The countries surrounding the North Atlantic (the European Union, Norway, Denmark (thus the Faeroe Islands and Greenland), Iceland, Russia, Canada, and the United States) formed NASCO, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation in order to find ways to restore salmon populations. Many activist NGOs (such as the WWF) doubt NASCO's effectiveness, since the EU has not yet limited the salmon fishery in the British Isles.

Membership of NASCO from

Also see


The salmon is a fish common to the rivers of Ireland and Great Britain. As such, it has a special place in Insular Celtic mythology.

The salmon is regarded as a symbol of wisdom, difficult to gain. In Irish myth, the salmon of wisdom swims in the well of Nechtan, eating nuts the nine hazel trees, which fell into the well. Boann, wife of Nechtan and lover of the Dagda, attempted to drink from the well, but the well burst and became the river Boyne, named for the goddess. The salmon then swam in the river, but could only be caught by the most worthy.

This most worthy turned out to be Demne, who would later be named Finn Mac Cumhail because of the wisdom he recieved from fish. When the fish was caught, Demne took it to his master, Fintan. As Demne cooked it for his master, some grease splattered onto his thumb. He then recieved the wisdom of the salmon. A similar story is found in Hanes Taliesin, where the young Gwion Bach finds awen after sticking his burned thumb in his mouth; he then sought to escape from Cerridwen by turning into a salmon.

Elsewhere, in The Mabinogion, the Salmon of Llyn Llyw is the oldest animal in the world, and must be found by King Arthur in order to set Mabon ap Modron free, for only the salmon knows where Mabon is imprisoned. In other words, the oldest creature knows where the god of light is hidden. Wisdom is the way to enlightenment.

Finally, as said before, the salmon is a favorite food in Ireland, due to its abundance (and it just tastes good, too).

A Brief Description

Other than the fish, the term salmon may refer to humans on bicycles riding against the flow of traffic. Like salmon, they have a certain season; they swim upstream; and, with any luck, they die. Sadly the last is more reliably true of actual salmon, who are more valuable members of society.

A Small Disclaimer

Most of this is from the perspective of a US citizen; your traffic culture and law may, and almost certainly will, vary wildly elsewhere. If I don't trip over myself making note of that every other sentence, it's only because I don't want to think about it too much, and end up weeping noisily, curled up in the corner, at how much better many countries are in these respects.


Riding against traffic is, firstly, illegal under every vehicle code I've ever seen or heard of. Furthermore, it is dangerous; riding against traffic places you outside of the mental expectations of other traffic. Of course, anyone operating a vehicle, no matter how large or small, should be alert and aware of everything going on around them. That's still no defense against motorized traffic which isn't expecting you to be there. I fully expect my gravestone to read "He had right of way" - that doesn't mean that I want to bump the date up any.

Indeed, the statistical evidence I've seen fully support this; Wachtel and Lewiston's Risk Factors for Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions at Intersections shows the accident rate increasing by a factor of 3.6 for wrong-way traffic (and even higher in certain age groups.)


Now, don't get me wrong: I'm entirely in favor of dumb people getting themselves horribly injured or killed by their own fault. The problem is, when this sort of behavior becomes widespread, and there's no enforcement of the law, it can reinforce certain misconceptions. Local law almost invariably states that bicycle traffic is vehicular traffic, with the same rights - and responsibilities - as anything motorized. Still, many people honestly don't believe that, on both sides of the issue.

When large numbers of cyclists consistently break the law without repercussions, this reinforces the idea that bikes are toys, not traffic, encouraging a climate of disrespect for the law-abiding cyclist, who's been lumped in with the rest. The dangerous and illegal practice of riding against traffic clearly demonstrates a lack of regard for, or understanding of, practical cycling. Indeed, it will often be other cyclists most endangered by the salmon. They will often be traveling in the same general areas, causing conflicts when two cyclists approach each other. Even if the salmon travels on the right, a cyclist moving left to turn or pass can still be endangered. For that matter, a motorist trying to avoid making a little smoked salmon spread could swerve into a law-abiding cyclist.

While I've made my self-interest quite plain, there's also a great deal of societal benefit to encouraging safe, legal cycling. Healthier people, reduced traffic and fuel consumption, and an increased emphasis on local attractions and shopping over hopping in the car and onto the interstate are good for everyone. Salmon aren't just putting themselves and me in danger, they're doing harm, if perhaps only a small amount, to our entire culture.


The most common claims I've heard for wrong-way riding are safety and convenience. Both statistical evidence and reason demonstrate that safety for the rider is in fact sharply decreased. Similarly, riding against traffic can be more dangerous for your fellow cyclists, as described above. I see no possible argument for safety here, other than a possible false sense of security.

As for convenience, there are only a rare handful of cases where this may make sense. Most of the time, alternate routes will be available. For small stretches, dismounting and walking should not be a major issue. When there are no alternate routes available, the distance is great, and there's specific danger to riding with traffic, then this may be an excuse. This is rare for most folks, however - think of a highway under construction, whose right shoulder is being used as a lane for motorized traffic. Taking the left shoulder instead does make sense here. For city riding, there is almost invariably a better option.

In summary, salmon are people who either haven't thought things through or simply don't care, and endanger themselves and others, with no real benefit to themselves or anyone else.

Salm"on (?), n.; pl. Salmons (#) or (collectively) Salmon. [OE. saumoun, salmon, F. saumon, fr. L. salmo, salmonis perhaps from salire to leap. Cf. Sally, v.]

1. Zool.

Any one of several species of fishes of the genus Salmo and allied genera. The common salmon (Salmo salar) of Northern Europe and Eastern North America, and the California salmon, or quinnat, are the most important species. They are extensively preserved for food. See Quinnat.

The salmons ascend rivers and penetrate to their head streams to spawn. They are remarkably strong fishes, and will even leap over considerable falls which lie in the way of their progress. The common salmon has been known to grow to the weight of seventy-five pounds; more generally it is from fifteen to twenty-five pounds. Young salmon are called parr, peal, smolt, and grilse. Among the true salmons are: Black salmon, or Lake salmon, the namaycush. -- Dog salmon, a salmon of Western North America (Oncorhynchus keta). -- Humpbacked salmon, a Pacific-coast salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha). -- King salmon, the quinnat. -- Landlocked salmon, a variety of the common salmon (var. Sebago), long confined in certain lakes in consequence of obstructions that prevented it from returning to the sea. This last is called also dwarf salmon.

Among fishes of other families which are locally and erroneously called salmon are: the pike perch, called jack salmon; the spotted, or southern, squeteague; the cabrilla, called kelp salmon; young pollock, called sea salmon; and the California yellowtail.


A reddish yellow or orange color, like the flesh of the salmon.

Salmon berry Bot., a large red raspberry growing from Alaska to California, the fruit of the Rubus Nutkanus. -- Salmon killer Zool., a stickleback (Gasterosteus cataphractus) of Western North America and Northern Asia. -- Salmon ladder, salmon stair. See Fish ladder, under Fish. -- Salmon peel, a young salmon. -- Salmon pipe, a certain device for catching salmon. Crabb. -- Salmon trout. Zool. (a) The European sea trout (Salmo trutta). It resembles the salmon, but is smaller, and has smaller and more numerous scales. (b) The American namaycush. (c) A name that is also applied locally to the adult black spotted trout (Salmo purpuratus), and to the steel head and other large trout of the Pacific coast.


© Webster 1913.

Salm"on, a.

Of a reddish yellow or orange color, like that of the flesh of the salmon.


© Webster 1913.

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