My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bonneville Lock and Dam

April 27, 2017

One of the places Jo took me while I visited her in Portland, was to Bonneville Lock and Dam.  There is a wonderful visitor center there and a nearby fish hatchery. We visited on a cloudy day with intermittent rain, but made it to our car only minutes before a torrential downpour. 

I was struck by the beautiful landscaping and ran around in a misty rain taking pictures before we got inside the visitor center.

The rhododendron flowers look almost transparent

A rufous hummingbird was enjoying the blooming Oregon grape. 

Inside, we found the visitor center overlooked the dam  fish ladders and was on four levels, three of which were open to the public, while the fourth was for the administration.

We hoped to be able to sit in the lowest level and see fish swimming through the fish ladders. Alas, this day was too cold and rainy to encourage the fish to go upstream to spawn.  So we had to make do with the interesting exhibits on that level. We also enjoyed a video on how Franklin D. Roosevelt was forward thinking enough to have this dam  built and give hundreds of men jobs during the great depression. 

Models of some of the fish that use the fish ladders

More models

Poster that shows where the fish coming through here go

Beginning of the fish ladders

The fish work through a "maze" that allows them to rest in eddies as they go through the fish ladder. 

We only got to see these tiny salmon

We broke for lunch and went another four miles up the coast to a really good little restaurant. Then we went just a little further to some now abandoned locks where the local Native Americans are allowed to fish from platforms on either side of the locks.

View from the restuarent

Native American fishing platform

This looks like it could be fun in the summer when it is running

After lunch, we went to the fish hatchery that adjoins the dam. The season's fish had all been released, and only the breeding stock were there. We saw mostly rainbow trout and sturgeon.  The largest sturgeon was 70 years old.

Rainbow trout

A medium sized sturgeon

A bunch of sturgeon including the old guy

A rainbow trout

We watched a huge dark cloud race up and decided to rush to the car.  We made it with seconds to spare before a heavy rain began. Portland, had had, by this day, I think, 165 days of clouds and rain and only a few days of sun. 

On the personal front, I've been enjoying two days of snow and a week of needing my long John bottoms, a first of the year for me. I managed to get in our weekly mountain bluebird survey and counted 105 eggs and five brooding momas. (Only the female bluebirds have a brood patch.)  In less then two weeks, we'll have our first bluebird babies.  The tree swallows are somewhat around, but it is still way too cold for them to start nesting.  They feed on flying insects, while the bluebirds mostly feed on caterpillars and moths which are available much earlier.  I'm getting organized to run my bee surveys, hopefully starting next week. And continuing to get the volunteer quarters clean and stocked for our summer folk.