Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Net Pens, Washington and Oregon"
Includes ... "Net Pens" ... Blind Slough ... Youngs Bay ... Speelyai Bay ...
Image, 2004, Net pens, Blind Slough, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Net Pens, Blind Slough, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2004.

"Net Pens" ...
(to come)

Net Pens

  • Clapsop County ...
  • Speelyai Bay ...

Clatsop County ...
Since 1976 Clatsop County, Oregon, has maintained a project along the Lower Columbia River, with salmon "net pens" first set up in Youngs Bay, and, as the project proved worthwhile, net pens were added in Blind Slough and near Tongue Point. Fingerlings were raised and then released in the Columbia River as smolts.

According to Clatsop County's "Fisheries Project" information (2007), in 1977 the project released 50,000 coho. In 2004 the project released 2.4 million coho, 1.5 million spring chinook, and over half a million bright fall chinook smolts. The chinook and coho fingerlings come from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife hatcheries, plus the Clatsop project receives eggs for incubation at its hatchery on the South Fork of the Klaskanine River.

The "net pens" themselves are floating fish pens secured to pilings along the shoreline.

"... A small-mesh net is suspended from a floating frame, made of high-density polyethylene pipe, that is secured to pilings. Each side of the pen is 20 feet long. The net hangs 10 feet deep. ... The fish are raised in these pens various lengths of time, long enough for them to "smolt" a physiological change prior to entering salt water. ... During their time in the net pens, the fish imprint to the scent of the bay, giving the the homing instinct to return to that location for harvest. ... Before their release, the smolts from each group are marked so they can be identified when they return as adults and are harvested. Tiny coded-wire tags are inserted into the snout and the adipose fin is clipped. The fin is located on the topside of the fish near its tail. ..." [Clatsop County, Oregon, website, 2007, "Fisheries Project"]

The Clatsop County project is just one of many net pen projects established along the Lower Columbia River, with other projects managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, all with sponsorship by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Net Pen sites are located up and down the Lower Columbia River, with locations at (as of 2007) Blind Slough, Youngs Bay, Tongue Point, Deep River (12 pens were installed in 1999 with 16 additional pens being requested in 2006), and Steamboat Slough near Skamokawa.

Image, 2005, Across Youngs Bay towards Cooks Slough, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
View across Youngs Bay from Tide Point. Looking towards entrance to Cook Slough. Fish-rearing pens (net pens) in the foreground. View from Tide Point along east side of Youngs Bay. Image taken April 19, 2005.

Speelyai Bay ...

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 26, 1805, first draft ...

Journey to the PacificReturn to

*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

  • Clatsop County, Oregon, website, 2007, "Fisheries Project";

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
March 2013