Bonneville Lock and Dam


Jim was excited about visiting the Bonneville Locks and Dam – and he is so accommodating about going where I want to go for photo taking, how could I say no. And I do find machine-type things interesting.

The Bonneville Dam, on the Columbia River in the Columbia Gorge, was started in 1933 and provided jobs for about 3000 people during the depression through the Public Works Administration (their literature). Jim went into the turbine building where the generators are and found it really interesting and impressive. The generators are enormous.


Salmon use the Columbia River for spawning and building the dam would interfere with this so the Corps of Engineers brought on several experts in fisheries. Building fisheries to get fish past something as big as this dam had never been done before so their plan included fish ladders and fish locks for the fish going upriver and passageways for the juvenile fish going back to the ocean. After the fish navigated past the dam it became evident that the fish preferred the ladders to the locks. After watching them fight the rapids going through the ladders and sometimes being swept backwards, this surprised me.

At any rate, I chose to view and photograph the salmon going up the ladders through the viewing windows instead of going to view the generators with Jim.

There is a fisheries complex by the dam and they do a lot of research and activities to make sure the fish populations are healthy and growing as salmon fishing is an important economic activity in the area – especially for Native Americans. I heard a guide say that they have people counting the fish going up the ladders – now that sounds like a mind-numbing job. They also distinguish between fish bred in the wild and those in the hatchery, by the presence (or absence) of the top fin just in front of the tail. Some have one, and others don’t depending on where they started their lives.


Safe Zone

Whidbey 056

This photo is a keeper only because of the irony of it. I don’t know the people, we were sitting on a log on Whitby Island where all the locals go to fish. The Salmon were running and I was snapping photos of people fishing, just for the fun of it – no National Geographic cover here. When I was downloading my photos this one was saved from the delete button by the fish jumping. Is he taunting all the people fishing, or is he just looking for a safe zone? The girl’s lure in hanging just behind the fish – wouldn’t it have surprised her if she would have caught it “on the fly.”

Thanks, Cee, for picking “candid shots” for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge. It gave me a good topic for posting this one. See other “candids” by clicking here: