Larry flops down Main Street in Mascot Scamper

Lonesome Larry flopped across the finish line in the Mascot Scamper at the Main Street Mile on Friday, June 22 in downtown Boise. Other competing mascots included a giraffe from Boise City Zoo, Bonnie Blueberry from Ihop, the Stinker Station Skunk, and the National Fire Protection Association’s Sparky the Firedog.

The Main Street Mile is an annual event that aims to eradicate prostate cancer as a life-threatening disease by advancing awareness, education, and screenings. The series of races included children and adults of all ages. Click here to see this year’s results!

Re-Appearing Act: Lonesome Larry Visits a Restored Indian Creek

Larry checks out the farmer's market at Indian Creek

The most interesting fish in the world flopped into one of Caldwell, Idaho’s most interesting features: Indian Creek, a humble little stream that once pulled a several-decades disappearing act.

A summer oasis in the heat of downtown Caldwell, Indian Creek bustles with activity. It is the site of a newly developed half-mile of green space where people walk, relax and swim. The Caldwell’s Farmers’ Market meets there every Wednesday (Lonesome Larry enjoyed a fresh-squeezed lemonade as he chatted with vendors), and a branch of Treasure Valley Community College is located nearby. Until 2002, however, none of this existed. The creek ran unseen below the city’s paved surface.

In the 1800s, Indian Creek was the center of life for settlers, who used its water for washing, bathing, cooking and drinking. Railroad tracks were built along the creek in the 1880s, and it became part of the New York Canal irrigation route in 1882.

As the area’s population and industry grew, Indian Creek became increasingly polluted by residential garbage dumping and from agricultural and industrial runoff. To cover its foul look and smell, the creek was paved over as the city developed. It flowed beneath shops, restaurants and roads, disappearing from sight and mind for many years.

After the passage of the Clean Water Act and other regulations in the 1970s, the state of Indian Creek’s water was much improved. In 2002, volunteers, business leaders, and city leaders embarked upon a plan to “daylight” the creek and create six acres of new green space. Using both public and private funds, the city has invested millions of dollars in the uncovering, rerouting, and landscaping of Indian Creek and the downtown area.

Over the past decade, the creek has become an appealing environment in which to live, work and play, and the project continues. In November, the city received a $500 thousand grant from the federal government to continue making improvements.

This is the kind of environmental restoration project Lonesome Larry likes best. Like Larry himself, Indian Creek was a treasured resource taken for granted. It was community awareness, community action and collaborative problem solving that made Indian Creek the success story it is today. When people get together to focus on collaborative solutions for Idaho’s sockeye and chinook salmon, as well as steelhead, a similar widespread success story will follow.

A fishy afternoon in The City of Trees

Lonesome Larry making new friends in Boise.

Lonesome Larry makes a new friend in the City of Trees.

Lonesome Larry at Boise City Hall.

The Most Interesting Fish in the World visits Boise City Hall.

There was something fishy going on in downtown Boise today. The Most Interesting Fish in the World made new friends at Boise City Hall, caught a matinee at the historic Egypitan Theatre and spared a few minutes to work on his tan.

As his celebrity bubbles to the surface, Lonesome Larry will begin unveiling more of his most interesting tricks. The Most Interesting Fish in the World can be in two places at once. Look for him this weekend at the Old Time Fiddle Festival in Weiser and at the Idaho Green Expo in Boise!

Stay thirsty Idahoans.

Making Friends: Larry Visits Grove Plaza in Boise

The most interesting fish in the world was seen playing in the fountain in downtown Boise’s Grove Plaza on Monday, June 11. Lonesome Larry arrived in hopes of making new friends and spreading the word about the plight of his species. He also invited everyone he met to visit his home in the Sawtooth Valley for the annual Sawtooth Salmon Festival on August 25 in Stanley.

“Larry is always showboating and meeting new people, ” said Joe Pickett, a close friend of Larry’s. “If you see him around, chat him up and take his picture. He’s a total ham in front of a camera.”

If you missed Larry this time, don’t despair–he will frequent Boise and the rest of Idaho throughout the summer. You may even catch him in the plaza again for an Alive After Five concert!

Story Story Night: an Idaho epic unfolds

The last Monday of every month in Boise is story time. And for the May installment of Story Story Night, Lonesome Larry couldn’t resist the evening’s theme: LEGENDS: Stories of Heroes and Epics.

“Lonesome Larry is the epic Idaho tale,” said Jessica Holmes, Story Story’s MC and creative driving force. “He hatched into a brave new world of dams and dangers where few survive. But he did. He was the only sockeye salmon to make it back to Redfish Lake in 1992, and that story is both tragic and heroic–a wonderful fit for this month’s theme. We were honored to have Larry make an appearance.”

For more information on this dashing salmon from the Sawtooths, read his story. And tune back in to see where he makes his next public appearance.

Stay thirsty, Idahoans.

Warming up: Larry takes a dip at Burgdorf Hot Springs

Lonesome Larry at Burgdorf Hot Springs.

Lonesome Larry pauses for a dip at historic Burgdorf Hot Springs, an Idaho landmark.

Lonesome Larry at Burgdorf Hot Spring

Lonesome Larry at Burgdorf Hot Spring near the headwaters of the Secesh River.

Established in 1870 by Frederick Burgdorf, Burgdorf Hot Springs boasts a 50- by 85-foot pool that ranges from 100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s fed by a 113-degree spring that flows at 150 gallons per minute into two much smaller pools.

When Frederick Burgdorf arrived in Idaho, he aspired to strike it rich mining gold. Instead, he discovered the hot springs and built a pool with hotels, cabins and barns. It is nearly as rustic today as it was then. But there is something notable missing.

In the late 1800s when Mr. Burgdorf arrived along the banks of the Secesh River there were thousands of chinook salmon returning every summer from the Pacific Ocean to to spawn. Now, in an era following dam construction on the lower Snake and Columbia rivers, salmon return to the picturesque high-mountain meadows near Burgdorf in drastically reduced numbers. Click here to read more about the plight of wild salmon, and about Lonesome Larry, The Most Interesting Fish in the World–the only sockeye salmon to return to Idaho in 1992.

Lonesome Larry dives in at Burgdorf.Stay thirsty Idahoans.

Spring Bar salmon ceremony

Lonesome Larry at Spring Bar near Riggins

Lonesome Larry rowing Wapiti River Guides' dory at Spring Bar near Riggins.

Lonesome Larry joined Wapiti River Guides and members of the Nez Perce tribe on Saturday, May 26, to welcome salmon on their journeys home to Idaho. Hosted annually, the ceremony features traditional Native American songs and ceremonial laps of the big eddy at Spring Bar on the Salmon River near Riggins.

Where will The Most Interesting Fish in the World show up next? Check back often to find out. And read his amazing story to learn more about this iconic Idaho fish–and the threats that jeopardize his species’ existence.