Laura Tesler is a fisheries biologist and underwater photographer who travels the world to swim with fish. One of her favorite places to go is the wild salmon streams of the Tillamook Rainforest.

Here, Six world-class wild salmon and steelhead rivers—the Trask, Wilson, Kilchis, Miami, Nehalem, and Salmonberry feed giant mother trees, black bears, stalking herons and anglers from around the country. Drawing up to 100 inches of rain annually, the forest, stream network and connected tidal wetlands drive a natural fish factory, with thousands of coho, cutthroat trout, winter steelhead, and famous runs of fall chinook that arrive in waves from September to March.  The Tillamook River basin is also home to the southernmost viable runs of chum salmon. 

With their streaked spawning markings, chum traditionally served as important food fish up and down the West Coast. 

That’s why it’s so crucial that we have durable streamside protections in the Tillamook. So that fishing communities and wildlife that depend on salmon can continue to thrive.

Credits: @miyamotoryan