Looking for salmon runs

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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rymalia
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Joined: March 12th, 2019, 10:00 pm

Looking for salmon runs

Post by rymalia » November 20th, 2020, 12:56 pm

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good spot that would have salmon running this weekend? I feel like getting out for a hike and would love to see some salmon spawning in a creek or a pool somewhere but I have no idea where they'd be.

I'm in the Portland area but am open to any recommendations.

querulous
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Joined: October 7th, 2020, 3:11 pm

Re: Looking for salmon runs

Post by querulous » December 1st, 2020, 10:14 am

So you've gotten no replies. That's kind of telling. I think the probable dispiriting answer is that there really aren't any obvious local salmon runs where you can see salmon on spawning gravel. Yeah, there are fish that move through on the Columbia main-stem, and you can see evidence of that in the form of clusters of recreational fishing boats at certain times and seasons. But local spawning? Nah.

Thinking about this a little more, and moving to the speculative realm, the Wind River basin might be a place to look. Historically it's not a salmon river because of falls low in the system which only steelhead could get up. But they've put in fish ladders for the salmon. And there are definitely spawnable reaches there. Steelhead (sea-run rainbow trout) are not salmon by the popular definition but it would be cool to see them spawning. Paradise Creek? Trapper Creek? Trout Creek? Dry Creek?

Farther east there is the White Salmon and the Klickitat which still have attenuated salmon runs. In the Willamette basin, the Clackamas historically had big runs and still has runs on life support:https://www.portlandgeneral.com/corpora ... -fish-runs
It's telling that the URL above is from PGE, which has hydroelectric dams on the Clackamas. Too many dams, too much logging, too much bank alteration, too much urban development, too much bad stuff happening at sea. There really is no such thing as a local salmon run which is not on the brink of extinction.

In summary, you can see spawning salmonids locally, but not easily. You'd have to work at it, figure out run timings, scout a lot of stream banks, before you see big fish on gravel.

You might also ask elsewhere. Fishing enthusiasts and fisheries professionals know a lot that nobody on this board knows.

Webfoot
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Joined: November 25th, 2015, 11:06 am
Location: Troutdale

Re: Looking for salmon runs

Post by Webfoot » December 1st, 2020, 10:33 am

I have seen salmon jumping in the Klickitat in September. I assume they spawn somewhere farther up the river.

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dirtman
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Joined: August 8th, 2014, 9:14 am

Re: Looking for salmon runs

Post by dirtman » December 1st, 2020, 12:16 pm

I've seen Chinook/Coho spawning in Cedar Creek near Sandy and the Little Wind River near Carson. You can also find them spawning on a lot of the small streams entering the Nestucca. A bit further away, I've seen huge amounts of sockeye spawning in the Buskin River by the Kodiak airport and in Salmon Creek just outside of Juneau.

querulous
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Joined: October 7th, 2020, 3:11 pm

Re: Looking for salmon runs

Post by querulous » December 1st, 2020, 6:47 pm

dirtman wrote:
December 1st, 2020, 12:16 pm
I've seen Chinook/Coho spawning in Cedar Creek near Sandy and the Little Wind River near Carson. You can also find them spawning on a lot of the small streams entering the Nestucca. A bit further away, I've seen huge amounts of sockeye spawning in the Buskin River by the Kodiak airport and in Salmon Creek just outside of Juneau.
I was forgetting about the Sandy. No dams on the main Sandy anymore, it's close in. Probably a good watershed to explore for spawning reaches, once you figure out the run timings. There's got to be a reason that one branch is called the "Salmon river"

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walrus
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Joined: July 9th, 2014, 7:24 am

Re: Looking for salmon runs

Post by walrus » December 1st, 2020, 8:28 pm

I've seen them in the Wilson River - between Jones Creek and the Forestry Center, I think. And ye olde far off times, Eagle Creek. When I was a kid, in Multnomah Creek between the freeway and the falls - no idea what it is like now. I would imagine you can see them in the Salmon at Wildwood, there are certainly signs about it.

Tom of the Woods
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Joined: July 10th, 2016, 6:27 pm
Location: Rogue Valley

Re: Looking for salmon runs

Post by Tom of the Woods » December 2nd, 2020, 10:28 am

It might be too late for this year. I can't speak to the Portland area but here near Medford it seems over and done. (Moreover, the run was weak this year, no redds on the gravel behind the house where they usually spawn.) I found 1-2 spawned out salmon gasping their last gasps and some fish parts 3-4 weeks ago but nothing since.
- Tom

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bobcat
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Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
Location: SW Portland

Re: Looking for salmon runs

Post by bobcat » December 2nd, 2020, 7:44 pm

Hit or miss, hard to predict the exact day, but best chances are after a good rain:

Sandy River at Oxbow (but hard to spot unless they're actually in a redd)
Eagle Creek in the Gorge, under the 400 Trail bridge to Shady Glen (the new one has been installed, but you still can't get in); I've seen plenty spawning there in the past.
Multnomah Creek below the lower drop
Elk Creek in the Coast Range up to and above the West Fork
Wilson River from the footbridge at Bridge Creek (primarily steelhead)
North Fork Nehalem (steelhead)

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