Tag Archives: salmon

Eagle Bait

As Don came back from fishing he saw a salmon carcass on the riverbank.

alsea river fishing
Fishing on the Alsea in Curly’s boat

So he moved it over to the island in hopes of attracting in some birds.

dead salmon - eagle bait
Eagle Bait

We were surprised that nothing even seemed to look at it for a whole day.  Even the few seagulls in the area seemed to ignore it.  But this morning someone is eyeing the prize…

bald eagle
3 year old Bald Eagle

This young bald eagle hasn’t tasted it yet.  But he’ll be back.

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Fall Creek – Chinook Run

Fall Creek is a tributary of the Alsea River.  A well-maintained gravel road is between mile markers 26 and 27 on the Alsea Highway 34. We’ve been checking Fall Creek, every couple weeks, for salmon but hadn’t seen any at the falls until this week.

Fall Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls

 There’s a really nice research center about a half-mile further up the road.  They use workampers and other volunteers seasonally.

Fall Creek Chinook Run - 2013
Chinook on redds

But we just like to watch the salmon jump the falls.  We only saw one jump so we walked down the river to see how many we could find on redds.  “Redds” are the gravel beds where salmon lay their eggs.

Fall Creek Chinook Run - 2013
No fishing!

But we were mostly excited to see the size of these Chinook this year.  They are probably in the 30-40 lb range!

Fall Creek Chinook Run - 2013
Some are sore backs

“Sore Back” is a nickname given to the adult salmon that are dying.  As their bodies deteriorate, they turn white and look like sores.

Fall Creek Chinook Run - 2013
Pretty beat up

  They’ll tend their eggs until they die.

Salmon lesson for the day:  We never stop being a parent.

Seals Follow the Salmon

Uh oh!  This makes it hard to fish!

Harbor Seal in Alsea River
Salmon are Hiding

Nothing is biting when these guys cruise.  I am amazed that a Harbor Seal will travel 10 – 12 miles up the Alsea River!  This is in Tidewater.

Harbor Seal in Alsea River
Cruisin’ for Salmon

He hung around for at least 20 minutes.  Maybe longer but I had to get busy.

Some fishermen saw him go up into the ripples then turn around and go back down the river.

Alsea Bay Fishing

Alsea Bay Fishing
Alsea Bay Fishing

I don’t think this first year western seagull has worked for one meal in his life.

Alsea Bay Fishing
Shore Fishing

Lots of fishermen/women were out fishing the Alsea Bay from the shore yesterday.

Alsea Bay Fishing
He’s getting too close

Don and I were eating lunch on the tailgate and watching the fishermen. The seagull didn’t get one bite from me!

Unless he came back for the piece of lettuce that fell out of my sandwich.

Seagull with Dead Salmon
Seagull with Dead Salmon

Today it rained off and on all day.  This seagull found a dead salmon that a fisherman must have hurt upstream.

Salmon Spawning on the Alsea

We needed to go “over the mountain” to Philomath today so we thought we’d check out our favorite salmon-viewing spots on the Alsea River.

Fall Creek
Fall Creek

We haven’t had time to check out the fish ladders on Fall Creek yet this year so we stopped there first.

We saw some salmon in the creek on the way to this point.  But nothing at the ladders.

There is a really nice hatchery and research center further up the road.  But we don’t have time for that today.  They hire workampers for the summer, by the way.

Salmonberry Campground on the Alsea River
Salmonberry Campground on the Alsea River

We packed a lunch today and decided to eat it at Salmonberry Campground.  The campground is closed but you can park in the Day Use area.

One year we stopped here and saw so many salmon you could walk across the river on their backs!

Someone was in our “spot” today though.  So we ate lunch on the bridge and studied the water.

Spawning Salmon in the Alsea
Spawning Salmon in the Alsea

As we watched the ripple upstream we noticed a salmon working a red.  Don took a bunch of pix and a couple had the salmon in it!

This one looks like he’s on his last leg.  We saw at least 3 salmon at one time on the reds and we counted 6 dead salmon under the bridge.

Rain and Salmon on the Alsea River

As a friend described it, it is the “soaker-hose kind of rain” that we’ve needed so badly here.  Just a gentle, soak-the-ground-deeply, rain. 🙂

Soaker Rain
Soaker Rain

It raised the Alsea River only a quarter of an inch.  But it was enough to bring the Chinook in!  2 salmon, in the 20 lb class, were caught from the banks of Blackberry Campground this weekend.  It’s not that easy to discover the “truth” about what brings the salmon up a river when all you hear are fishermen’s (purported) truths or theories (sorry dear).

This I know: 1) Salmon come up the river to spawn;  2) Salmon return to their own hatching grounds.

Salmon Fishing
Salmon Fishing

But, as far as what role rain plays in the salmon spawn, I’m still listening to theories.  Maybe there is truth in all these theories?  I don’t think they contradict each other.  Here are some I’ve heard:  1) The rain in the river carries the scent to the salmon that they recognize from their youth.  2)  The rain lowers the temperature of the river and it’s the right temperature that tells the salmon that it’s okay to come up.  3) The rain raises the level of the river so the salmon can make it to their destination.

Blue Heron
Blue Heron

I know there are experts on the subject.  But, frankly, I like listening to the theories.  They are presented with such conviction!

We are getting more soaker-hose rain this afternoon.  We had the extra high tide (9.0) around noon today.  The minus tide (-.5) is around 6pm.  So the tide really moved in fast this afternoon.