A week ago we received two reports about an “encounter” between dogs and sea lions along the new channel. They were second hand accounts, so we have no verifiable information to present, but they are now clearly habituated to the new channel.
They are likely following Steelhead runs up the Sandy (if anyone knows more of the Sandy River fish runs, please send any corrections).
This is the first winter we’ve received reports of sea lions in the channel since the dam was first breached in 2013. Considering the channel is now free-flowing and deeper, and that they’ve long ago found the Willamette Falls and the Bonneville dams to be good fishing grounds, we expect them to be resident in the channel during future fish runs.
Sighting are being reported nearly daily, and I myself saw one in the channel at the powerline crossing on Friday (3/10). (that day the water was high enough to prevent any access to the beaches so no dogs were swimming).
For those with dogs who like to swim, please be watchful!
The picture below was sent to us by Sharon V. on Saturday 3/11 (taken by her friend Daniel Waltz).
Please continue to send us reports if you have seen, or hear of any verified sea lion encounters. We have posted small signs at the two main beaches for awareness.
Users should be observant when taking their dogs to the water. Although the sea lions are following fish runs they may be a threat to a swimming dog, and it would be best to be prudent.
And of course, please let other users know to be aware.