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About our Columbia River locations

Color relief map of the Columbia River Gorge and surrounding areaThe Portland District operates three locks and four dams in the Columbia River basin. Each dam contributes to a water resource management system that provides flood risk management, power generation, water quality improvement, irrigation, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation on the Columbia River and some of its tributaries.


There are many developed recreation sites along the Columbia River. Activities available at each area vary, but may include: camping, picnicking, boating, water skiing, fishing, swimming, hunting, hiking, biking, equestrian use and wildlife viewing.

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These five steps will help you to anchor safely:

  1. Use anchor lines that are 5-7 times the depth of the water. The Columbia River's depth may exceed 100 feet in some places.
    1. Use a float for the anchor line to serve as a buffer and to reduce the risk of getting the anchor line tangled in the propeller.

    2. Lower, do not throw, the anchor to avoid tangles in the line.

    3. Anchor only off the point of the bow. Anchoring off the stern or the side will capsize your boat.

  2. Power upstream of anchor before retrieving it. Maintain position in line with the flow of the current while retrieving anchor. Turning cross-wise to the current increases the risk of capsizing.

  3. Rivers can become turbulent with little or no warning. You are advised to wear a Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Device at all times. Also, take precautions against hypothermia. River temperatures can range from 70 degrees in the summer to near freezing during the winter.

  4. River users are reminded that although it is legal to anchor in the channel, it is illegal to block the right-of-way of a vessel that is restricted to using the channel.

  5. Five blasts of the horn signify danger, and you must take action to avoid that danger.

For more tips, visit the Corps of Engineers National Water Safety site: http://watersafety.usace.army.mil

Click here for a print version of this information.

This two-page guide (.pdf) lists the distinguishing characteristics and dam passage dates for chinook, coho, sockeye, steelhead, lamprey, American shad and white sturgeon.