Wednesday July 10th 2019
It rained off and on all night and into the morning. During the rest of the day the weather gradually improved. At the supper hour the sun tried to make an appearance. Hopefully, the trend will continue overnight and tomorrow will be a nice sunny day.
Today’s touring began at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. Oregon’s largest hatchery was built in 1909. It is located just down river from the Bonneville Dam. It’s primary mission is harvesting, fertilizing and incubating Chinook and Coho Salmon. This time of year the young fish have been transferred to other hatcheries or released. There was one pool of little salmon for viewing. They are getting ready for the new spawning season that begins in late August through November. Even so, there is still plenty to see and do at the hatchery. I may stop at the hatchery again on my exit from Oregon in September.
The grounds are very well kept with nice green lawns, water features and plenty of flowers in bloom. There are picnic facilities, a gift shop and a few fish related tourist attractions. The hatchery doesn’t raise trout, but keeps two ponds with trout from another hatchery for people to feed and interact with. The most famous resident of the hatchery is a seventy plus year old White Sturgeon named Herman. He and a few other Sturgeon from the Columbia River occupy a pond with an underwater viewing window. These are big fish. Herman is over 10 feet long and 450 pounds. The others are almost as big.
After my visit to the hatchery, I stopped in the town of Cascade Locks. This area of the river was 4.5 miles of rapids before the Bonneville Dam was built in the 1930s. It was an obstacle to travelers up and down the river. The portage routes along the shore were difficult and dangerous to travelers. During a long thirty year period at the end of the 1800s a canal and lock system was built at the location of the town of Cascade Locks. After the Bonneville Dam was built the canal and lock were no longer needed. Today the area is used for boat launching and a public park. It appears to be very popular for weddings.