CAYUGA LAKE WATERSHED — Every Spring, thousands of salmon shorts (salmo braccae) travel hundreds of miles upstream to mate and lay their eggs. Hundreds of miles from the Northeast Coast where the shorts start their journey, Ithaca is home to one of the largest displays of pink pants traveling to their natural spawning grounds.
“These salmon shorts make up the basis of Ithaca’s wild-caught summerwear market” said Cornell oceanography professor Lars Rudstam, who has researched the ecology of not just salmon shorts, but of seafoam and coral shorts as well, for almost a decade.
The magnificent creatures — around two feet in length and 32” waist — swim from the saltiest oceans to find fresher waters. In addition to fighting against the current of the rapids and waterfalls, the salmon shorts are often attacked by agile predators, such as grizzly bears, bald eagles and the occasional North American Preppy Boy.
“I’ve been having a lot of luck in these waters recently,” commented Chadwick Reynolds, a local fraternity brother who has taken up fishing in Cascadilla Creek for brightly colored legwear. “I found a ton of different brands out here. Last week I caught a pair of J. Crews, and I swear I almost reeled in a huge pair of Vineyard Vines, but they got away.”
The schools of shorts will certainly be welcomed by the Cornell and greater Ithaca community, in hopes that they will fill the void left by the gaggles of Canada Goose Jackets that have returned North for Spring.