I think they may have been from a net or the dam. They had alot of seaweed on them but the bellys looked too white to be tules to me. You are right about there being a bunch of them. I didnt count but I'm sure there was atleast 6 that floated right by our boat.
Weeler Dealer -Tules are Columbi River Chinooks that spawn in the Lower Columbia River. They are usually darker and lower quality (pale) meat by the time they hit the CR. Some are nice quality but most are smokers or releasers.
When compared to the upriver brights (fish that spawn mostly in the Hanford Reach area) or Tributary Chinook (like Sandy)they are easily identifiable. They are bronze or darker on the back and have a kind of humpy/lumpy looking back between the dorsal and adipose.
They are raised in hatcheries mostly to provide Canadian trollers with mitigation fish so they won't catch all the Coastal Chinook heading down the West of Vancoover Island before they get here.
There aren't to many options, if you can't sell them. I mean really, what would you do with a bunch of dead worthless fish. You can only use so many to fertilize the yard.
I heard Spring Creek hatchery gave a bunch of tule's to the state pen a couple years ago. I can't help but laugh when I think of the inmates reading a daily menu saying "Fresh Columbia Salmon." Mmmmmm, I bet they were disappointed.
Tule bucks hold their color longer and are better table fare or smokers then the hens who lose their color because all their blood goes to their eggs and therefore have paler flesh and bland taste.Don't even make good smokers once their in the tribs.,and their meat is white.
I think its anglers catching a fish, holding onto it, catching a better looking fish and then discarding the tule.... I see that happen all the time! Better make sure our own house is clean before we start throwing stones....