The last time we studied salmon we were in California and we lived very near a creek where the kokanee salmon spawned every autumn. We had such a tremendous experience and reading back over the entry I remember the excitement of the day spent with my boys.
I hope you’re enjoying the autumn series of Outdoor Hour Challenges posted here on Fridays. Please note that all of the challenges along with corresponding notebook pages are available to Ultimate Naturalist Members at the Handbook of Nature Study.
You can see all of the ebooks available by clicking the graphic above. This includes 20 ebooks, 76 archived newsletters, and over 75 other printable notebook pages and activities.
Inside Preparation Work:
Trout: Read pages 156-158 in the Handbook of Nature Study (Lesson 40). Much of this information seems outdated but if you Google search “trout fishing NAME OF YOUR STATE” you will probably find enough current information to fill in the gaps. Try to determine what kind of trout you have in your area: Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat, Brook, Golden, or Lake. Here is some additional information on the Brook Trout (includes a video).
Salmon: There are no specific pages in the Handbook for the salmon but there is plenty of information online to use as part of this challenge. Here is a coloring book for the Pacific Salmon and Steelheadthat is excellent (this download link keep disappearing so do a Google search for it if you can’t get it from the link provided). You can print the entire book out and use it to pre-study salmon. Here is the Atlantic Salmon version. Make sure your child understands that the salmon lives part of its life in saltwater and part in fresh water.
Compare a Trout and a Salmon
Does it live in fresh water or salt water?
Size, color, shape, markings, placement of fins, eyes.
Where do they lay eggs, how is the nest made, and how are the eggs protected
Outdoor Hour Time:
This is the perfect time for a field trip to a fish hatchery in your local area. Google search “fish hatchery list YOUR STATE NAME”. This will usually give you at least one good lead to where you can visit to see fish up close. If you cannot find a hatchery to visit, ask someone you know who is a fisherman if they could bring you a fish to observe up close. As a last resort, visit a local pet shop or an aquarium and look at any fresh water fish.
Lots of choices for this challenge as part of your follow-up: Coloring book pages from above, the trout notebook page or the salmon notebook page in the Autumn ebook, a blank page in your nature journal, or the Venn Diagram activity suggested above. There is also a Salmon Life Cycle notebook page in the ebook. Have your child narrate what they learned from this challenge and help them write about it in their nature journal or on their notebook page.