Simple. To have babies, at least according to Alexis Leonard, a fish hatchery specialist, who recorded the video of more than a dozen salmon swimming across a flooded US Highway 101 in Shelton, Washington, Saturday.
Leonard and her father were headed back to Eells Springs Trout Hatchery when they came across the first salmon.
“We kind of saw one fish dart across the road,” she said. Leonard recorded the video for her sister, who had never seen fish swimming across a road, and also posted it on Facebook. The video quickly went viral. As of Monday night, it had more than 1,200 views.
This isn’t an unusual occurrence in Washington, Leonard said. Salmon in the area typically come from the Skokomish River and inhabit the creeks in order to spawn, or have babies. When there’s heavy rain, Leonard said, the creeks flood, sending the fish everywhere.
“If they’re lucky, it’ll meet up with the creek on the other side of the road, if they’re not they’re stranded,” Leonard said.
Leonard, who has been working in hatcheries since 2015, also said the fish population at area hatcheries often explodes because of heavy rain and fish crossing the road.
“You can go from a few fish to a few thousand fish overnight,” she said.