My eye-opening excuse for going to the Falls was an attempt at gathering Lamprey Eels, which climb the falls in their spring spawning run, to use for sturgeon bait. It took a special permit (to gather Lamprey, access from below is open and limited only by one's boating hubris) and three tries before I finally understood what was necessary. The first time I simply drove there in a car refusing to believe that the state of Oregon had not somewhere developed access to such an important site. Wrong! All the private claims to the land around the falls preceeded statehood by 50 years! Then , realizing a boat was needed, I had to wait until the water level dropped from spring run-off.
Fishermen have fished below the falls since time immemorial, taking advantage of the concentrating effect on the Willamette River runs of salmon, steelhead, sturgeon , and lamprey, and more recently shad. I have never seen so many pople in boats actually wearing their life vests!
Now, actually gathering Lamprey....? If I ever get it figured out, I'm sure that will the the focus of a whole photogrphic section of it's own.
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