PREDATORS — Like the cormorants that move in ahead of them, California sea lions are leaving their original saltwater hunting areas to chase fish inland as they go up the Columbia River.
At least three, and maybe four of the big marine mammals this year have managed to find their way up the Columbia 146 miles from the Pacific Ocean to cross above Bonneville Dam.
The sea lions have in recent years increased their presence in the waters below Bonneville Dam, feeding on salmon and steelhead spawners that are looking for an upstream passage route.
More recently they’ve been seen at The Dalles Dam, which is another 45 miles upstream from Bonneville.
Tribal spokesmen say the sea lions have been raising hell for tribal gillnets in the area.