Friday, March 11, 2011

Salmon released into Lapwai, Clear Creeks

A half million coho pre-smolt salmon (about 14 months old) were released March 10 in Lapwai Creek and March 11 into Clear Creek near Kooskia.

These coho were extirpated from the Clearwater drainage for many years, but a cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Nez Perce Tribe has rebuilt the population to fishable levels.

 “The thing that is unique about the fish being released…is that they are the first ones to come from eggs taken from fish that returned to these creeks,” said Joan Jewett of FWS.

In the past, the project used Willamette Basin eggs to raise fish, then released them into the Clearwater drainage. Though the adults would return there, December of 2009 is the first time enough of those fish returned that eggs could be taken from them. These eggs were incubated and the fish raised at Eagle Creek hatchery near Estacada, OR, making them the first descendants of Clearwater coho to be released there.

These coho pre-smolts will support both tribal and sport fisheries in the tributaries on the Clearwater River. Chinook salmon will continue to use the mainstem Clearwater.

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