In Celtic mythology the salmon ate hazelnuts from trees that ringed the Well Of Wisdom and gained the knowledge of the world. I think this is why a sagacious person is said to have the Wisdom of Salmon. Often, fish are drawn with only one eye: one-eyed creatures in Celtic myths are able to see beyond this world. Perhaps the salmon are hints to us that we need wisdom beyond this world to see what is truly going on.
In The White Goddess, Robert Graves posited a Celtic zodiac (not accepted by most scholars) which has been taken up by some neopagans. The signs are mostly associated with trees, but also having an animal spirit and god associated with each sign. The salmon spirit is associated with the hazel tree sign (August 5 to September 1) – and the god Manannan Mac Lir (a Sea God and a master of disguise).
In the mythology of the Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, the Salmon People promise to return to the shores and streams to be food for the humans as long as the humans throw their bones and other uneaten parts back into the water – allowing the Salmon People to be resurrected.
With that as a prelude, I was inspired to write the following. Trout, salmon, they’re related.
I want to leap, dance, shout.
I want to let that slippery fellow out.
He’s wild and wiggly, have no doubt.
He’s a natural wonder, the trouser trout.
My trout aches, and a drippy wetness pains
My sense, as though of menthols I had smoked,
Or emptied some dull malt liquor to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had stroked:
‘Tis not through envy of our brotherly lot,
But being too happy in thine maliciousness,—
That thou, light-finned Naiad of the streams
In some mellifluous creek
Of mosses green, and depths measureless,
Scheme of ruination like some scaly freak.