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Sawtooth Hatchery Record Salmon Returns

by Staff
KIFI News, May 9, 2004

Redfish Lake, the name originates from when the salmon use to fill these waters. You don't see that anymore. That's why there's the Sawtooth Hatchery.

"The best thing about working here is the variety…It's just gorgeous we've got mountains, hills, lakes, rivers streams. It's just great," says Roger Elmore, Sawtooth Hatchery.

The Sawtooth Hatchery survives on water. It filters in everywhere increasing the survival of salmon.

"Our primary purpose here is to trap, spawn and rear chinook salmon," says Roger Elmore.

From the egg stage on up.

"We're here to mitigate habitat loss caused by the construction four dams on the lower Snake River," says Roger Elmore.

Hatchery fish increase the number of salmon heading to the ocean, but still 90 percent of all these fish never make it to the ocean.

"I'm hopeful, but I'm cautious," says Elmore.

This tub is their haven until the big trip out. Even this small they already swim the wrong way; preparing for when they're strong enough to go against the real current.

"In the long run what you'd like to see is the natural fish completely take over and put the hatcheries out of business," says Elmore.

For now there is plenty of business along the water race ways, feeding the frenzy; tagging fish living away from the nursery in wild waters.

"As they go downstream we'll see how many detections we get from these fish that are tagged and do a survival estimate again," says Senior Fish Tech Kurtis Plaster.

The hatchery is flipping with life and rushing with waves of hope for the future.

"It seems like we're making progress, but it's slow," says Elmore.

A record number of salmon were predicted to return this spring, more than 100,000. But we just found out actual returns may be only half of that. That really reduces the chances for a fishing season in Salmon.

Joe Rojas-Burke
Sawtooth Hatchery Record Salmon Returns
KIFI News, May 9, 2004

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