Posted by: bluelanternstudio | July 5, 2011

Catch of the day: King of the salmon

The underwater trumpets blare. The fish line up in all their spawning finery. And the parade begins, with the king of the salmon in the lead, followed by streams of wild salmon.

Salmon Migration

Salmon Migration (Robi Smith, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches)

So I imagine the scene each year when the salmon return to the coast after their life at sea, to begin their long ascent up rivers and streams to their spawning grounds.

According to the Makah people (whose traditional territory is in the San Juan islands, the American counterpart to BC’s Gulf Islands), the king of the salmon does lead the wild salmon home each year. The king of the salmon is heralded as good luck; to catch or kill one is a bad omen.

Contrary to its name, the king of the salmon is not itself a type of salmon. Rather, it’s a long ribbon fish that grows to about 180 cm or 6 feet. It swims to a depth of 900 metres and ranges from Alaska to Chile.

King of the Salmon (Robi Smith, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches)

You can see more of my paintings from the same series here on my website. And be sure to check back next Monday for another ‘Catch of the Day’!



  1. Hi Robi:
    I’m Pacific salmon scientist from Russia (Vladivostok, Pacific Scien. Fisheries Center). Next week, I will talk on Pacific salmon dynamics trend and factors affecting it in frames of annual scientific meeting of the Russian research institutes’ association in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. I very like your painting “Salmon Migration”. Please, allow me to use its copy for the first page of my powerpoint presentation. I’l make a reference for your authorship.
    Sincerely, Vladimir

    • Hi Vladimir,
      Thank you for your note and your interest in using my painting in your presentation. I’ll send you an email to confirm.

      • Dear Robi: Thank you for your prompt reply. Your verbal agreement is enough for me. Do not spend more time for formal letter and better keep it for your next outstanding paintings. Best regards, Vladimir

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