Every year, salmon and steelhead embark on a grueling trek from the Pacific Ocean to their breeding grounds in Central Idaho. It's a 900-mile swim, climbing 7,000 feet above sea level to find the place where their lives began. These fish are kind of like the Odysseus of the fish world. Oh, and they're super-tasty too.
To celebrate the salmon migration, the Sawtooth Salmon Festival returns to Stanley Friday, Aug. 23, and Saturday, Aug. 24. The festival opens Friday at 5 p.m. at the Stanley Interpretive and Historical Association Museum with a presentation by Steven Hawley, author of Recovering a Lost River: Removing Dams, Rewilding Salmon, Revitalizing Communities.
Festivities continue Saturday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. For the curious and academically minded, the festival includes educational tours where groups can see how the salmon prepare to spawn, and learn more about how they transport fertilizing nutrients from the Pacific Ocean to Central Idaho.
Back at home base, vendor booths and kid-friendly activities like gyotaku fish painting take place, along with live music. To finish out the evening, a dinner of wild Alaska sockeye is served from 6-8 p.m. Tickets for dinner can be purchased online or at the festival for $15 for an adult plate and $10 for a child.