The California Department of Fish & Game (CDFG) operates a kokanee salmon stocking program with support from Kokanee Power, a California and Oregon non-profit. Kokanee salmon are an introduced landlocked form of sockeye salmon that never migrate out to the ocean. The CDFG lost all funding in 1989 for raising and stocking kokanee salmon in California inland waters. Since that time Kokanee Power has been providing funding and volunteers to continue stocking kokanee in reservoirs throughout California.
Each fall, with the help of Kokanee Power volunteers, CDFG collects eggs from wild caught fish. Temporary fish weirs are installed in the Little Truckee River and Taylor Creek at the end of September and when enough fish ripe with eggs have accumulated below the weir the group gathers to collect eggs. We were happy to help with the egg collecting event this week. Using seines, backpack electrofishing units and hand nets, fish are collected and held temporarily before females are stripped of their eggs (YouTube Video). The eggs are fertilized with milt from the males, and are kept cool and oxygenated for transport. The eggs will be raised at the San Joaquin Hatchery for about 6 months before the juvenile kokanee are released in the spring. This egg collecting event will provide juveniles to stock various lakes throughout the Sierra.
Read more about kokanee on an earlier post “Harmless sportfish introduction?”
See more photo on Flickr
Photo source: FISHBIO