The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife has a video about Herman the Sturgeon.

The state's most famous fish is Herman, the sturgeon.Herman is one of Oregon's most distinctive aquatic characters- some even consider him the unofficial state fish.

Why not?Herman made a music video with a famous rap musician, starred in a National Geographic documentary, and for nearly 50 years was the undisputed star attraction at the Oregon State Fair.

Keeping him healthy and safe while he was at the fair became an issue after he got his humongous body back and forth.It was a big job to get Herman onto the fish tanker.The workers had to corral him in his pond, lift him up on a wet blanket, carry him to the truck, and then slide him into a fish tank mounted on the back of a truck.Someone had to climb into the tank to get Herman pointed at the back door so he could slide headfirst through the opening to the pond.As many as 350,000 fair goers paraded through the ODFW exhibit to gape at him while he lay around in the pond for 11 days.

The practice of taking Herman to the fair was stopped because it was causing too much stress for him.No one is responsible for his well-being.That was the year 1985.People still ask ODFW staff, "Where's Herman?" 30 years later.

Steve Williams has a good recollection of that question.Williams was the number two man at ODFW.He wore an ODFW costume at the state fair and answered many Herman-related questions.Where is Herman?According to Williams, that is the most frequently asked question at the state fair.

There were other important questions, like, "Was Herman really kidnapped in the middle of the night from his viewing pond at Roaring River in 1983?"Did thieves really mangle Herman so badly in a failed attempt to pull him out of his pond that workers spent months nursing him back to health so they could release him in the Columbia?The story of the man who jumped into the pond with Herman and repeatedly stabbed him is true.Herman and his friends have been attacked many times.An attacker stabbed five fish in the sturgeon pool in 1969.One of the sturgeon was believed to have been stolen in 1980.In 1982, vandals took two sturgeons and cut one of them in the back.In light of the attacks, the workers responsible for taking care of Herman are very cautious.

There was a discussion in Salem about building a permanent aquarium for Herman at the state fair.The facility would have been grand.The aquarium features a 60,000-gallon tank, meandering stream, waterfalls, spawning ponds, and a viewing window where visitors could get a close look at the big fish.However, that idea didn't work out.

There is a plan to build a first-class, fish-friendly sturgeon holding facility next to the Columbia River.The Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation spearheaded a fund-raising campaign and raised more than 350,000 dollars for the construction of the Sturgeon Viewing and Interpretive Center.One of the top attractions in Oregon is the Sturgeon Center.

The historical architecture at Bonneville Hatchery is mostly native stone and vegetation and was designed by ODFW engineers.Thanks to those efforts, Herman is now resting comfortably in the two-acre pond, feeding on fresh salmon, and doing swim-bys for tourists from all over the world who stop in by the tens of thousands to eagerly snap selfies with him to send to friends.It is one of the few places on the planet where people can look into the eyes of a fish that has been around for millions of years.

The Sturgeon Center is located under a forest canopy and has a continuous flow of fresh water.A paved path part-way around the pond provides easy access to a viewing platform where people can get a bird's eye view of Herman and his companions.Visitors can see Herman from a large viewing window below the water's surface.The site is free of charge during the year.

Herman is enjoying the good life at Bonneville.He no longer has to hunt for food at the bottom of the Columbia River because he gets a steady diet of fresh salmon.Two 8-footers, a 7-footer, and four smaller sturgeons live in the pond and keep Herman company.The next Herman may be one of them.The current Herman may have a couple more decades to reign as the state's oldest and largest captive sturgeon.There are 21 sturgeons in an older, smaller pond, all of them less than four feet in length.

There are seven species of sturgeon that are found in North America, but only two of them, the white and green ones, can be found on the West Coast.Herman, who is 11 feet long and 500 pounds, is twice as big as some sturgeon who live to be more than 100 years old.

Herman is from a long line of prehistoric bottom feeders.When the dinosaurs were still walking the earth, this approach has proven to be an effective survival strategy for sturgeon.Since then, they have not changed much.They look like dinosaurs.The prehistoric nature of the sturgeon caught the attention of rap music star Aesop Rock, who came to the Sturgeon Center to film a music video with Herman.Herman is a rock star if you have heard of him.

People who want to see Herman can do so even though he isn't coming back to the fair.45 minutes east of Portland is the Sturgeon Viewing and Interpretive Center at Bonneville.It is a great place to take the family for an outing.Admission is free and there is lots of parking.The other attractions at the hatchery include the salmon rearing ponds, visitors' centers, and the spawning room, which is seasonal.People can feed rainbow trout in the display ponds.The best time to view adult fall Chinook and Coho salmon is in August through November.

The shop is owned and operated by the Oregon Wildlife Foundation.Oregon's fish and wildlife benefit from the proceeds of the gift shop.The visitor's center at Bonneville Dam has tours for large groups.

The community scientists in Oregon have shared their observations with the iNaturalist app.Take a picture of mammals, birds, and other animals.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife owns or manages over 200,000 acres of land.

In late September, deer and elk migrate to wintering grounds, and often have to cross roads.

There are current opportunities to fish, hunt and see wildlife.There is a weekly update by fish and wildlife biologists.