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Steelhead spawn at fish hatchery

Numbers high enough to ensure the next generation of fish at Eagle Creek facility


by: POST PHOTO: SCOTT JORGENSEN - POST PHOTO: SCOTT JORGENSEN The fish are separated by gender and checked for diseases as part of the spawning process. The Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery was alive with activity on Thursday, Feb. 21, as staff members spent the morning spawning steelhead.

Groups of the fish were corralled, and then separated out by gender. Eggs were extracted and injected accordingly, as part of the annual effort to boost the number of fish in area watersheds.

“Our return hasn’t been spectacular this year, but we will have enough to make the egg requirements for the hatchery’s next generation,” hatchery manager Caroline Peterschmidt said.

Fish also were screened for disease as part of the process.

During the week of March 4, yearling coho smolts (juvenile fish) will be loaded into transfer trucks and shipped up to the Yakama and Nez Perce Indian tribes as part of their coho restoration programs.

In mid-April, hatchery staff will remove the end screens out of the raceways currently containing the Coho, setting the smolts free in Eagle Creek.

“The fish will be allowed to leave when they want to over the course of several weeks, followed by the volitional release of the steelhead smolts,” Peterschmidt said.

The hatchery is operated under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s division of the Department of the Interior.

For more information, call Peterschmidt at 503-630-6270, ext. 205 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.