Pink salmon are most commonly found in Alaska, but somehow one was just recently landed in Ohio of all places. Rocky River, just outside of Cleveland, has steelhead and other lake fisheries. But for a pink salmon to show up there was surprising to say the least, and it begged the question, how?

Allegedly, pink salmon were accidentally introduced into Lake Superior during the late 1950s and then spread throughout the Great Lakes. You can imagine the surprise for the team of scientists who caught the pink salmon. While electronically sampling a portion of the Rocky River less than a mile up from Lake Erie, Cleveland Metroparks’ Mike Durkalec was on the electrofishing boat when they shocked up the pink. 

“I knew immediately what it was when it came up with several nearby steelhead because of the pronounced hump on the back and the proportionally larger spots on the deeply forked tail than other salmonids we see,” said Mike. “They turn up in our waters occasionally but they are very rare. I was excited but the other two technicians on my boat were extremely excited and hooting and hollering when they saw it because they had never seen one before. We saved it for the grand finale in our training session and the naturalists were excited to see this unusual visitor to our waters as well.  We released it back to the river afterwards.”

While certainly not something you see everyday, this story really goes to show you how interconnected our waterways (the Great Lakes) are.

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