“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

John Muir

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Alaska Kenai River - Fatback - Dolly or Bull

The Dolly Varden trout, Salvelinus malma malma, is a subspecies of anadromous fish in the salmon family, and is technically a char. Although many of the fish are anadromous, the fish also exists in landlocked waters.

The Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus),was native to the McCloud River below the Lower Falls to Shasta Lake. This is the only area in which the Bull Trout was native to California although it is widely distributed throughout the interior portions of Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho and British Columbia. It was our only native char. The name to this trout was orignally the "Dolly Varden". It's name is also a California origination. A publication by Evermann and Bryant in 1919 noted that when this fish was taken by scientists, staying at the Upper Soda Springs Hotel on the McCloud River, the resemblance to a dress material with spots called Dolly Varden, and which was then the rage, led to its being given this name by the lady members of the party, ... "Dolly Varden". The original Dolly Varden is a character in the Charles Dickens's novel "Barnaby Rudge" and was well known as being quite flirtatious wearing her flashy attire and colorful dresses one of which was green with pink polka dots.

The names, Bull Trout and the Dolly Varden, were used interchangeably until 1980 when the Bull Trout was genetically proved to be a separate species. Since that time the "Dolly Varden", which was named on the McCloud River, was actually the Bull trout. The Dolly Varden does exist. But , it is a coastal fish which is distributed just south of the Canadian Border to Seward Alaska and in Asia from the Yali River, Korea to the Anadyr River.

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