Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Net Pens, Washington and Oregon"
Includes ... "Net Pens" ... Blind Slough ... Youngs 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" ...
Since 1976 Clatsop County, Oregon, has maintained a project along the Lower Columbia River, with salmon "net pens" first set up in Young 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.


Youngs Bay ...

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.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 26, 1805, first draft ...
Cloudy and Some rain this morning at daylight wind blew from the E N. E, we Set out and proceeded on up on the North Side of this great river to a rock in the river from thence we Crossed to the lower point of an [blank] Island passed between 2 Islands to the main Shore, and proceeded down the South Side [Cathlamet Bay] passed 2 Inlets & halted below the 2d at a Indian village of 9 large houses [Knappa, Oregon] - those Indians live on an emenence behind a Island or a Channel of the river not more than 300 yds wide, they live on fish & Elk and Wapto roots, of which we bought a few at a high price they Call them Selves Cat-tar-bets description



We proceeded on about 8 miles and Encamped in a deep bend to the South [location of today's Twilight Eagle Sanctuary], we had not been Encamped long ere 3 Indians Came in a Canoe to trade the Wapto roots - we had rain all the day all wet and disagreeable a bad place to Camp all around this great bend is high land thickly timbered brushey & almost impossible to penetrate we Saw on an Island below the village a place of deposit for the dead in Canoes-

Great numbers of Swan Geese Brant Ducks & Gulls in this great bend which is Crouded with low Islands covered with weeds grass &c. and overflowed every flood tide [today the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge] The people of the last village is-[blank] ...     We are now decending to see if a favourable place should offer on the So Side to winter &c.

from a high Point opsd. a high Isd down the South Side is S. 30 W 6 mls to a point of low land opsd. upr. pt of Isd. passed lowr. pt. 1st Isd. marshey. at the upr. pt. of 2 low Isd. opsd. each other at 4 miles



S. 12 E 2 miles
to an Indn. Cat-tar-bet vilg of 9 houses [Knappa, Oregon] passed an inlet 300 yds wide on Std at 1/2 a mile

S. 60 W 1 mile
to high land on the South

S. 70 W 1 do.
to a South point Low land a low Isd. opsd. pass the former

S. 50 W. 6 miles
to a high point S.

South 2 miles to a bend Camped

N. 70 W. 6 miles
to a point No. 1 a deep bend to the left

S. 50 W 8 miles
to Point No. 2 passing a deep bend to the South

S. 50 W 1 1/2 miles S. 40 W 1 1/2 miles
to Pt in Bay

The bay turns to the N of East & recves 2 other small Brooks





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*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

Sources:   

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.
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March 2013