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Coho gather below bridge between parking lot and lodge where they annually spawn

COURTESY PHOTO: RON GOODWIN - Every year coho salmon make their way up the Columbia River to spawn at Multnomah Creek.After heavy rainfall earlier this month that led to flooding and washouts across the region, some salmon found themselves hunkered down at the bottom of a creek in the Columbia River Gorge.

The relative calm waters of Multnomah Creek, which flows from the base of the popular Multnomah Falls, was the perfect place for coho salmon that were visible in the clear water by the pedestrian bridge that connects the tourist destination with the lower parking lot at Interstate 84.

COURTESY PHOTO: U.S. FOREST SERVICE - Earlier this month Multnomah Creek flooded and submerged the tunnel between the falls and the I-84 parking lot. The salmon are beginning the spawning-phase of their lives, after migrating from the Pacific Ocean up the Columbia River this summer. In the ocean coho have silver sides and dark-blue backs. But during spawning in the freshwater their jaws and teeth become hooked, they develop a light-pink shading along the belly, and males show a slight arching of the back.

The calm creek was a nice change for the coho after it had flooded on Friday, Nov. 12, completely submerging the underground walkway that leads from the parking lot to the Historic Lodge. The salmon will reproduce in the gravel creek bed below the footbridge to the falls. Coho return later in season when there is enough water in Multnomah Creek.


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