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Mail Tribune 100, July 17, 1918

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

July 17, 1918


That conditions at Ament dam are worse than they ever have been, that it is impossible for any fish to ascend the stream, as both fish ladders are dry as bones and there is not sufficient opening thru the dam to admit the ascent of fish, and that unless conditions are remedied at once, the United States bureau of hatcheries will be forced to close the Elk Creek hatchery and suspend operations for taking spawn and restocking the stream, is the report wired to the food administrator, the salmon administrator and the state fish and game commission by Hugh Mitchell, state superintendent of hatcheries, who spent Tuesday at the dam inspecting conditions.

“No salmon or steelhead can get above the dam,” says Mr. Mitchell, that many are congregated below and butting their brains out in vain attempts to ascend. Not only are the fish held, but they are seined regularly at night by poachers, says Mr. Mitchell. No fish are reaching the hatchery and none can unless the dam is torn out or a fishway opened trough it.

In an effort to remedy conditions, State Game Warden Carl Shoemeker blasted a hole in the coffer dam last spring. Thru this opening the fish could ascend until the low water period cut off the supply from the ladders. For blasting the channel, Mr. Shoemaker was fined $50 in federal court. Since then the receiver of the dam has sold the property to bondholders and it is up to the new owners to fix the dam up or to the state commission to tear it out.

The dam is not used for any useful purpose and never has been used except as a come-on for get-rich-quick swindlers. It generates no power, supplies no irrigation water, is rotten to the core and a menace to life and property in the lower valley as the first flood will take it out.

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