Saltar al contenido

Returning to youth

Truchs arco iris

Ir a la versión en español



When the harsh Canadian winter loses its strength, the ice covering the waters of the Nass River begins to crack. Pacific rainbow trout, which had gathered in Portland Inlet, embark on their annual upstream journey to the place of their birth to fulfill the ritual of spawning.

Driven by an ancestral instinct, the fish will travel over 200 kilometers upstream, reaching an altitude of 3,000 meters. They will swim against the current, overcoming obstacles and predators, barely feeding themselves along the way. The incredible effort causes the animals to age at an accelerated pace each day. Their jaws deform, their spines curve, their gills crack, and the calcification of their arteries reaches an awe-inspiring, almost deadly level.

Upon reaching the spawning grounds, the females will release their eggs, which require the fertilization of two males since a single female can lay up to 20,000 small eggs in a single season. After spawning, rainbow trout do not die like their salmon relatives. Carried by the current, their prematurely aged and near-collapse bodies will embark on the journey back to the sea.

The return journey is simple and effortless. Freed from the stress of reaching the spawning grounds on time, they allow themselves to be carried downstream, resting and feeding adequately. It is during this return journey that the marvelous miracle occurs. The animals rejuvenate kilometer by kilometer. The most striking change is the notable and rapid decalcification of the arteries, which completely disappears. The spine loses its curvature, and the jaw returns to its normal appearance. Upon reaching the sea, they are once again young and strong individuals.

The same process occurs the following year, and the year after that, and the one after. Rainbow trout can age and return to youth at least four times throughout their lives. Humans, subjected to stress and intensive effort, often exhibit symptoms of premature aging not only in their appearance but also in disruptions to their circulatory system. Rest, a balanced diet, and a period without disturbances favor the recovery of appearance and overall health.

Unfortunately, the phenomenon of rainbow trout constitutes a unique exception within the animal kingdom. However, it can provide fundamental information about the aging process. Observing and studying their physical changes can provide valuable data to science regarding stress and its recovery. After all, we are dealing with the only animal that has managed to retrace the path of life and return to youth. Four times…

“You cannot defend what you do not love, and you cannot love what you do not know.”