Sunday, August 19, 2018

8/18 Bonneville Dam Fish Hatchery & Really Big Sturgeons

Got a little better Verizon service for a few hours today, so am updating my blog.  

On my way to the Oregon Coast, I stopped at the Bonneville Dam Fish Hatchery.  I had stopped at the south side of the dam a couple of years ago and at the north side a month ago, but I did not realize on either of those visits that there was a huge fish hatchery near the dam as well.  And, the thing that made me stop was finding out that there were huge sturgeons in the hatchery that they used for breeding little sturgeons.  

Sturgeons are really, really big fish--like 8' long for the river versions.  There are other versions that also live in the Great Lakes, but almost everywhere in the U.S. these animals have been fished almost out of existence. The life cycle of these primitive fish is so long, however, that breeding them takes a very long time.  

At the entrance to the dam, you can turn left to the hatchery or right to the dam itself for a tour of the power plant and to see the fish ladders. 

The hatchery opened in 1909, so some of the buildings show the architecture of that time.  Here is one of the big fish ponds.  The arches support netting to prevent birds like eagles from helping themselves to an unauthorized snack. 

A map of the hatchery.  I am on my way to the sturgeon viewing center, which is at the upper left of this map. 

Thee buildings might have been a residence or office way back when.  Notice how well the grounds are kept up.  It was a beautiful day today, sunny and not too hot or cold. 

Check out the wind vane. 

Fish or not, this is a very pleasant place for a stroll. 

This little building is built into the side of the sturgeon pond and enables you to see them from underwater windows. 

I like the sturgeon wind vane on this viewing building.

These are about 3-4' long, so they are smaller. 

 This one was a little bigger.

This is  one of the views from the top. 

These two are really big! 


The water in the ponds is kept clean because it comes from a mountain stream and is then filtered.  It ends up being amazingly clear.  One thing I forgot to find out is what they feed these guys. 

 This is one of the other ponds, where mostly trout are raised.  I am not sure why it is not covered with netting like the other ones are.   Maybe the fish are too big to steal? 

Really small trout in this tank.

Hidden behind all these bushes is an RV belonging to some of the volunteers who work here in exchange for a camping spot and maybe a small salary.  

Bonneville Dam and the hatchery are located about 30 miles east of Portland off of I-84, which makes it an easy place to visit if you are ever in that area. Here are some links:
  • Fish Hatchery Guide -
  • Army Corps of Engineering site -

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