Steelhead Start Journey
WENDELL -- The beginning of steelhead migration from Niagara Springs fish hatchery, near Wendell, to the Pacific Ocean has begun.
About 1.8 million juvenile steelhead were hauled from the hatchery, in one of Idaho Power's three fish-tankers, to the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam and to the Pahsimeroi and Little Salmon rivers last week.
After being released into the rivers, these 6- to 8-inch-long fish began a journey of 500-plus miles to the ocean. Those that survive will spend a year or two in the ocean, growing into the prized game fish that draw hundreds of anglers to Idaho rivers in the fall and winter.
Some of the adult steelhead that make the return journey upstream will be captured in Idaho Power traps below Hells Canyon Dam and near the Pahsimeroi hatchery. Those adults will be spawned and the fertilized eggs taken to Niagara Springs to begin the cycle again.
Niagara Springs provides an ideal environment for raising steelhead because of the clean water flowing from the canyon wall at a constant year-round temperature of 58 degrees. The hatchery itself was rebuilt in 2013 and is one of the largest steelhead rearing facilities in Idaho.
For more information, go to idahopower.com/fish.
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