Sunday, October 18, 2009

We went to the Return of the Salmon Festival on Saturday at the Coleman National Fish Hatchery. This is when fall-run chinook salmon return to Battle Creek (and other creeks) to spawn and then die after spending several years in the ocean. We were told that this year's salmon run seems to be both better than last year (which was horrible) and better than expected, but still not all that great. There were also some steelhead coming through, but these were just measured and released upstream.

Holding tank for Salmon before they are brought in to the "Spawning Building":

The white stuff on them is a fungus. At this point in their life they don't eat and don't use any energy for healing wounds (as they would when in the ocean), so any injuries develop a fungal growth.

Chinook working their way up the fish ladder to the holding tank:

Rachel in the incubation room. The trays hold the fertilized eggs and have water constantly flowing through them.

The Coleman National Fish Hatchery releases 2 million chinook salmon each year and 200,000 end up returning to the hatchery. I would say that these statistics show pretty good survivorship.

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