It's said that long ago the salmon runs were so heavy that you could walk across the rivers on their backs. This concentration of fish is artificial, the result of placing a net at the mouth of a chute. We saw the setup yesterday.
Even at the time that my great-grandfather was living in Biggs he said it was unbelievable the numbers of fish that went up that river. It is hard to fathom such a population going up that river.
charlott on 8th May 2013 @ 7:01am
I had an old commercial fisherman from the lower Columbia tell me that in 1925 he had to go to Alaska because there were no salmon here.
I have always been curious about that. It was before the dams. Fish wheels were prominent, but I wonder if it was a cycle.
Peter S Ogden wrote in his diary of coming through this area and the Indians were starving because the spring run of salmon had not appeared.
Will we find out what the purpose of this netting of fish was? Moving them somewhere else to spawn?. Perhaps the Spring Creek Hatchery at Underwood which was built to replace the lost White Salmon run?
l.e. on 8th May 2013 @ 7:37am
I'm no expert on salmon, but I doubt if Indians starved because fish runs were in the low part of a cycle. Fish wheels and dams can and have decimated enormous salmon runs. Alaska still has a few enormous salmon runs left, but they are in jeopardy from proposed developments--Pepple Mine, Susitna Dam, etc. My guess is that in the not too distant future the value of salmon runs as they used to exist will far exceed the value of electricity that is being produced by dams today.
Buzz on 8th May 2013 @ 9:30am
It is far too easy to place the blame on dams for the near extinction of the Salmon, when the truth is much uglier and harder to face. The Columbia is horribly polluted from its headwaters to its mouth, by agricultural and corporate runoff. It is clogged with gill nets during fish runs, its surface covered by boats full of fisherman, and the banks of its tributaries lined with them as well. It is clogged by river traffic and recreation. This is not counting the rise in populations of natural predators, Cormorants, Eagles, Mergansers, Osprey, and Sea Lions, just to name a few. After all of that, it is a miracle that there is a single fish left in the river.
Lesa on 10th May 2013 @ 9:52am
I won't even go into the huge take, harvested by factory ships, throughout the Pacific Ocean. Salmon are targeted at every stage of their development and lives.
Lesa on 10th May 2013 @ 10:31am
I was aware that factory ships have seriously depleted some fisheries, but wasn't aware of their targeting salmon in the Pacific ocean. Could you refer me to any particular books or websites that could give me some specific info on their huge take of salmon.
Buzz on 10th May 2013 @ 3:28pm
This is not a direct answer to your question, but here's a report that gives some understanding of what is happening. "Hungry Oceans: What happens when the prey is gone?" http://oceana.org/sites/default/files/reports/hungry_oceans_OCEANA_012.pdf
Brian on 13th May 2013 @ 9:16am