Bonneville Fish Hatchery

Friday September 13th 2019

A line of storms brought rain to this area during the second half of the night. It was still raining when I got up this morning. By mid-morning all that was falling on the roof was the remaining moisture out of the trees above my RV home. The sporadic and louder noise of the secondary drops is more annoying than the actual rain.

Rose of the day.

The weather forecast for most of my stay here is cold and wet. I need to take advantage of all the good weather I can find, so when the sun came out around noon I got busy doing some touring. Seeing the salmon running up stream for breading is at the top of my list of reasons for returning to this area. I headed to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. It is one of the largest hatcheries for fall Chinook and Coho salmon spawning.

Pond between the hatchery and the Columbia River.

When I visited the hatchery in July there were no adult salmon around. Today all of the ladders and ponds leading up to where the hatchery personnel “assist” the salmon to spawn were full of big salmon. They weren’t processing fish while I was there, but they have a very good movie that describes the process and the role of the hatchery in maintaining the species.

Outside the processing building I watched the fish climb the ladder and attempt to continue their way up river from the holding ponds. People gather around to watch the fish and try to explain to each other how the hatchery worked. Most of these “experts” need to watch the movie. I heard a few wild descriptions of the fish behavior.

A duck and a Rainbow trout.

After watching the salmon jump I wandered around the rest of the hatchery grounds. They have a couple of ponds for Rainbow Trout and one for White Sturgeon. These are for the viewing pleasure of visitors. They don’t breed them here. These exhibits, the flower beds throughout the grounds and the gift shop are all for the visitor’s viewing pleasure when the salmon aren’t running.

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