Cutthroat Trout: Salmo clarki
These fish grow up to 30 inches and to a weight of 41 lbs. They live in both salt water and freshwater. Cutthroats are very popular as a sport fish, small ones caught in saltwater are nicknamed “sea-trout. They range along the Pacific coast from southern Alaska to northern California, and inland from southern British Columbia and Alberta south to New Mexico and from eastern California to central Colorado. Spawning from February to May (as early as December in the Cowichan River on Vancouver Island) in fresh water the young go to sea in their second and third year. There are ten sub species of this trout, some of which are extinct. They were an important food source to the indigenous peoples along the coasts represented in the body of the fish.
The Coast Salish
Pictured in the head is a two man dug-out canoe fashioned from red cedar (a bough of which can be seen behind the dorsal fin). This wood was invaluable to these people. Behind the gills, the woman pictured has used the bark to weave clothing and the baskets she is using. She is digging shellfish which were so plentiful throughout the Pacific Northwest you couldn’t walk the beaches without stepping on them. Cedar homes housed totems liked the ones in the body of the fish. These would have stood inside and outside. These communal houses sometimes reached gigantic sizes. Chief Sealthl’s (Seattle after whom the city is named) was Six hundred and forty feet long and sixty feet wide. Another important food source was:
The Tufted Puffin: Fratercula cirrhata
Offshore bird nesting colonies were owned by individual native bands that harvested both birds and eggs annually. The beak of these fifteen-inch tall birds becomes bright with color during mating season and appears duller during the remainder of the year. Spines on the roof of their mouth help hold slippery fish so they can be carried to young. Puffin range in offshore colonies on both sides of the North Pacific.