Aquaculture for all

Advantages of a Steelhead Hatchery

Breeding & genetics Hatcheries Post-harvest +3 more

US - A hatchery steelhead is hardwired like its wild brethren to return from the ocean to its native spawning ground.

This provides two advantages over wild steelhead, if you're looking to see fish in action fighting their way home, says the SanFranciscoCronicle. The first is you know exactly where to find them. The second is that there are some fish there to see.

"It's the best time of the year to come out, right now," Brett Wilson, who oversees the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery tolds the news organisation.

Through the last tally on March 7, Wilson has counted 593 mature steelhead, averaging 7 to 10 pounds, who have come in from the Pacific Ocean during the winter. The fish enter the Russian River at Jenner, then turn left up Dry Creek. The hatchery is below the dam at Lake Sonoma, and by the time they get there they have traveled 40 miles upstream, Wilson says. Then comes the spectator sport, which is the 20-foot climb up a fish ladder to the hatchery where they started from years ago.

"They are in a tight area and they have one way to go, so if you are going to stand there you will see them," says Wilson, senior hatchery supervisor for the Bay Delta region of the California Department of Fish and Game. They arrive in spurts and the average yield is two or three fish every half hour, Wilson estimates.

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