Aug. 25, 1914
Notwithstanding promises made last year by Superintendent Henry O'Malley of the United States Bureau of Hatcheries to the contrary, racks are being installed at the Ament Dam to prevent the use of fishways and hold the salmon for egg-taking purposes. The steelhead are also held, as well as chinook and silverside salmon. As a result, no salmon or trout can hereafter get above the dam, which means an end to fishing for the season for Jackson County.
The egg-taking operations are in charge of the new superintendent of state hatcheries, C.P. Henkel, who states that as a newcomer he is following the recommendations of Mr. O'Malley. Sid Howell, who has several times been convicted for violation of the fishing laws as a notorious poacher, has been placed in charge as foreman.
The action of the bureau has aroused widespread indignation among Jackson County fishermen, whose constant agitation forced the building of the fishways at the dam so that fish could reach the upper river. A protest has been wired Senator Chamberlain, who is on the Senate Fisheries Committee, and a determined campaign launched to stop racking on the lower river once for all.
Although efforts to take chinook salmon eggs on the lower river have proved failures for many years, the bureau renews its efforts every year. Last year the racks at Woodville gave way and the work was lost. However, silversides were taken at Ament Dam and not a silverside reached Jackson County.
Two years ago the chinooks were held at Ament Dam. The lower river water is so warm that leaches and other parasites killed the fish by thousands before spawning time. Three years ago a freshet carried away the racks — and every year has recorded a failure in recent seasons.
Fish culturists, formerly in the employ of both government and state, assert that ample salmon eggs can be taken at Elk Creek, if the fish are permitted to ascend. They assert the warm water below the Ament Dam, particularly in a year of low water like the present, will prove fatal to the holding of fish and that the work is as unnecessary as it is useless — a waste of money and a calamity to Jackson County anglers.