Bonneville Dam and Fish Ladder

June 28, 2012

While my parents were here a few weeks back, we visited the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatcheries. Our original plans were to visit Multnomah Falls, however, a hot tip on the dam from the friendly neighborhood gas station attendant led us to change our plans and head a bit further up the highway.

(Yes, we took activity tips from the gas station attendant. Yup – that’s pretty funny. What can I say? He was nice, and I am clearly very trusting – hahaha.)

It was actually awesome and we were all so glad we went. First, it was free. Second, it had a neat little ‘museum’ celebrating Native Americans and early settlers and how the local rivers were a life line for them. (Gavin especially liked this because it had old rifles displayed AND he got to pet a beaver pelt.) Third, it had a ‘viewing window’ where you could – in theory – watch salmon and other fish climb the fish ladder. We saw one fish – actually a fish shadow. That’s it. Hilariously, this article about record numbers of sockeye salmon climbing the very fish ladders which were vacant just a few weeks ago was released today.

Our experience at the end of May:

And here’s what’s happening at that very site now.

A little bit different, yea? Hahaha. We’ll have to go back when the fish are actually running. (Like tomorrow…)

I think my favorite part of the whole trip was discovering that it’s someone’s job to sit in a dark room, in front of a window in the fish ladder and COUNT / record the number of each different fish that passes through. I found that pretty incredible – especially when you see the number of fish that pass through this thing annually. Check out the pics!

More the on the fish hatcheries to follow.

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