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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Spring Creek and Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington"
Includes ... Spring Creek ... Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery ... Underwood, Washington ... "Big White Ponds" ... "Wind Surfing Capital of the World" ...
Image, 2012, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 15, 2012.


Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery ...
Spring Creek Fish Hatchery is located between Hood and Underwood, Washington, at Columbia River Mile (RM) 167.5. The White Salmon River is located upstream and Drano Lake and the Little White Salmon River are located downstream. On the north side of Washington State Highway 14 across from the Hatchery lies the old Broughton Lumber Mill, the lower, eastern end of the Broughton Flume. Across the Columbia on the Oregon side is the Columbia Gorge Hotel and Wah Gwin Gwin Falls. Adult Tule Fall Chinook salmon return in September and visitors to the hatchery can watch the fish being spawned in mid- to late September.
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Views ...

Image, 2012, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, click to enlarge
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Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 15, 2012.
Image, 2012, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, click to enlarge
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Incubation building, Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 15, 2012.
Image, 2012, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, click to enlarge
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Adult holding pens, Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 15, 2012.
Image, 2012, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 15, 2012.


Lewis and Clark and Spring Creek ...
Lewis and Clark passed by the springs located here on October 29, 1805. While they make no mention of Spring Creek in their journals, they did locate it as "c___ spring" on their route map [Moulton, vol.1, map#78].

Captain Clark wrote in his journal:

"... Here the mountains are high on each Side, those to the Lard. Side has Some Snow on them at this time, more timber than above and of greater variety ..." [Clark, October 29, 1805]

Early History ...
"The Spring Creek site was historically used by Native Americans for fishing. Although explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark may not have stopped at the particular park site, they did pass through the area while traveling along the river.

At one point, a homestead existed on part of the park property. The site and most of the surrounding area were later owned by the former Broughton Lumber Company. The Broughton mill was established by 1901, primarily as a planing mill which planed rough cut boards. The rough cut boards were cut from raw timber at another mill in Willard, Wash., and then transported by flume to the Broughton mill. Broughton established the first fish hatchery at the approximate site of the current hatchery in 1901. The surrounding area, including the state park, was used by Broughton as a recreation area. At one time the site included a boat ramp.

The fish hatchery was reconstructed in the 1940s following the construction of Bonneville Dam. The Corps of Engineers acquired the hatchery and neighboring property to the west, including the park land, in the 1960s. The hatchery was remodeled and the paved road was installed.

When windsurfing became the prominent recreation activity at the park, management was given to Washington State Parks."

Source:    Washington State Parks and Recreation website, 2013, "Interpretation and history at Spring Creek Hatchery"


Hatchery History ...
According to the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery 2010 annual report, the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery was first authorized in 1887 and 1891 and was put into operation in 1901, primarily to support the commercial fishing industry. It was reauthorized in 1938 and amended in 1946 for conservation of fishery resources in the Columbia River. It was remodeled in 1948 and expanded to its present size in 1972. The hatchery is located on over 60 acres in Skamania County, with the primary water supply coming from a series of five unnamed springs located at the base of the basalt cliffs north of the hatchery. It produces more than 10.5 million tule fall Chinook salmon annually for an on station release. These fish are native and originally spawned in the White Salmon River, located one mile upstream (east) of the hatchery.

From 1901 to 1938 tule fall Chinook were trapped by seining the mouth of the White Salmon River. Collected eggs were then transported to the hatchery of incubation and fingerlings were released at both the hatchery site and in the White Salmon River. After construction of the Bonneville Dam in 1938 adult collections in the White Salmon River became difficult and by 1964 sufficient number of adults were returning to the hatchery that collection of adults in the White Salmon was discontinued.

Spring Creek also operates a small substation on the White Salmon known as the Big White Ponds. This facility was constructed in the early 1950s and is located one and a quarter miles up the White Salmon from the Columbia River. Oringially the site was used for trapping adults and harvesting the eggs of the tule fall Chinook. After 1964, when adult trapping was discontinued, the facility was used to raise additional tule fingerlings for release into the White Salmon River. Other species, such as brown trout, chum, Coho, and spring Chinook salmon have also been reared at the facility and released into the White Salmon. The last release was in 2002, when 170,500 spring Chinook salmon were released.


View from the Cook-Underwood Road ...

Image, 2011, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Spring Creek Fish Hatchery as seen from the Cook-Underwood Road, Washington. Image taken February 2, 2011.


View from Ruthton Park, Oregon ...

Image, 2014, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, from Ruthton Park, Hood River, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, as seen from Ruthton Park, Hood River, Oregon. Image taken November 10, 2014.


Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, etc.

  • Biological Filter Beds ...
  • Fish Ladder ...
  • Mural ...
  • "Wind Surfing Capital of the World" ...
  • Views from Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery ...


Biological Filter Beds ...

"The Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery uses water from several springs located at the base of the adjacent basalt cliffs, recycling the water through a unique, oyster shell filtration system to conserve water and reduce pollution. Ninety percent of the water used in the hatchery's rearing ponds is recycled."


Source:    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, 2012, Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery


Image, 2012, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Oyster shell filter beds, Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 15, 2012.


"... Here the mountains are high on each Side, those to the Lard. Side has Some Snow on them at this time, more timber than above and of greater variety ..." [Clark, October 29, 1805]
Image, 2012, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Filter beds, Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 15, 2012.
Image, 2012, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Oyster shell filter beds, Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 15, 2012.


Fish Ladder ...

Image, 2012, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, click to enlarge
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Sign, fish ladder, Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 15, 2012.
Image, 2012, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Fish ladder, Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 15, 2012.


Mural ...
Surrounding an observation pond at the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery is a colorful mural of four salmon, each with an intricate paintings within the fish, showing historical activities of the hatchery. The mural was painted in 2001 by artist Janet Essley.
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Image, 2012, Mural, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, click to enlarge
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Mural, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 12, 2012.
Image, 2012, Mural, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington, click to enlarge
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Closeup, Mural, Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken June 12, 2012.


"Wind Surfing Capital of the World" ...
The Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery is located on the banks of the Bonneville Reservoir, known as the "Wind Surfing Capital of the World".
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Image, 2011, Bonneville Reservoir near Spring Creek, Washington, click to enlarge
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Sailboarding, from near Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken August 22, 2011.
Image, 2011, Bonneville Reservoir near Spring Creek, Washington, click to enlarge
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Sailboarding, from near Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken August 22, 2011.
Image, 2011, Bonneville Reservoir near Spring Creek, Washington, click to enlarge
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Sailboarding and Kiteboarding, from near Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington. Image taken August 22, 2011.


Views from Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery ...
The area around the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery provides nice views of the Columbia River, including the Hood River Valley upstream and Mitchell Point downstream. Across the river is the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel.

Image, 2005, View downstream from Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, click to enlarge
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View downstream from Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington. Mitchell Point, Oregon, is on the left. Image taken May 1, 2005.
Image, 2006, Mitchell Point, as seen from Spring Creek, click to enlarge
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Mitchell Point, Oregon, as seen from near Spring Creek, Washington. Image taken May 10, 2006.
Image, 2012, View from Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, click to enlarge
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Columbia Gorge Hotel, Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, as seen from the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery. Image taken June 12, 2012.
Image, 2012, View from Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, click to enlarge
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Columbia Gorge Hotel, Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, and sailboarder on the Columbia River. View from Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery. Image taken June 12, 2012.
Image, 2012, View upstream from Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, click to enlarge
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View upstream from Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, Washington. Hood River, Oregon, is in the distance. Image taken June 15, 2012.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 29, 1805 ...
A cloudy morning wind from the West but not hard, we Set out at day light [from their camp on Rocky Island at Crates Point], and proceeded on about five miles Came too on the Stard. Side at a village of 7 houses built in the Same form and materials of those above, here we found the Chief we had Seen at the long narrows [The Dalles] ...     they are hospitable and good humered Speak the Same language of the inhabitants of the last village, we call this the friendly village [vicinity of Dougs Beach]. ...     after brackfast we proceeded on, the mountains are high on each Side [high basalt cliffs of the Rowena Gap, with Rowena Crest on the south and the Chamberlain Lake area on the north], containing Scattering pine white oake & under groth, hill Sides Steep and rockey; at 4 miles lower we observed a Small river falling in with great rapidity on the Stard. Side [Klickitat River] below which is a village of 11 houses [today the town of Lyle is on the upstream side of the Klickitat], here we landed to Smoke a pipe with the nativs and examine the mouth of the river, which I found to be 60 yards wide rapid and deep, The inhabitants of the village are friendly and Chearfull; those people inform us also those at the last village that this little river is long and full of falls, no Salmon pass up it, it runs from N. N. E. that ten nations live on this river and its waters, on buries, and what game that Can kill with their Bow & arrows

we purchased 4 dogs and Set out- (this village is the of the Same nation of the one we last passed) and proceeded on The Countrey on each side begin to be thicker timbered with Pine and low white Oake; verry rockey and broken [passing Mayer State Park on the Oregon side]. passed three large rocks in The river the middle rock is large long and has Several Squar vaults on it. we call this rockey Island the Sepulchar [Memaloose Island] - The last river we passed we Shall Call the Cataract River [Klickitat River] from the number of falls which the Indians say is on it- passed 2 Lodges of Indians a Short distance below the Sepulchar Island [Memaloose Island] on the Stard. Side river wide, at 4 mile passed 2 houses on the Stard. Side, Six miles lower passed 4 houses above the mouth of a Small river 40 yards wide on the Lard. Side [Hood River]    a thick timbered bottom above & back of those houses; those are the first houses which we have Seen on the South Side of the Columbia River, (and the axess to those dificuelt) for fear of the approach of their common enemies the Snake Indians, passed 14 houses on the Std. Side Scattered on the bank- from the mouth of this little river which we shall Call Labeasche River [Hood River], the falls mountain [Mount Hood] is South and the top is covered with Snow.    one mile below pass the mouth of a large rapid Stream on the Stard. Side [White Salmon River], opposit to a large Sand bar [from Hood River], in this creek the Indians above take their fish, here we Saw Several canoes, which induced us to call this Canoe Creek [White Salmon River] it is 28 yards wide, about 4 miles lower and below the Sand bar [Hood River sandbar] is a butifull cascade falling over a rock of about 100 feet [Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, location of the Columbia Gorge Hotel],

[On the route map (Moulton, vol.1, map#78) a "C___ Spring" is shown on the north side of the river, today the location of Spring Creek and Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, with no mention of it in any text. On the south side, at the location of Wah Gwin Gwin Falls, only "Cascade" is labeled and "4 Houses of Indians".]

a Short distance lower passed 4 Indian houses on the Lard. Side in a timbered bottom, a fiew miles further we came too at 3 houses on Stard. Side, back of which is a pond [today the location of Drano Lake. The Little White Salmon River empties into Drano Lake.] in which I Saw Great numbers of Small Swan, Capt. Lewis and went into the houses of those people ...     Here the mountains are high on each Side, those to the Lard. Side has Some Snow on them at this time, more timber than above and of greater variety.





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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:    Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2010; Washington State Parks website, 2013, "Interpretation and history at Spring Creek Hatchery;

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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June 2013