Tribal Tribune —
In August, the Colville Tribal Fish and Wildlife Department trapped and hauled 100 adult chinook salmon from Wells Fish Hatchery, below Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams – the two massive concrete structures that have blocked migration of salmon into the northern reaches of the Columbia River and its tributaries for nearly seven decades – and released them into the San Poil River.
Now, CTFW has announced surveys have shown those salmon successfully spawned in the San Poil.
“Most of the chinook stayed in the area and a lot of them spawned,” said CTFW Senior Research Scientist Casey Baldwin. “We were able to document 36 redds (spawning nests) in about a 6 mile reach from West Fork downstream. The fish held there through the late summer and started spawning in October. It looks like we had really good survival and conversion to spawning.”
The project, which Baldwin noted was cobbled together through existing tribal funds and limited staff hours, looked at the feasibility and effectiveness of moving “naive adult” salmon – salmon who are not from the San Poil River – into a new tributary as part of reintroduction.
The results thus far have been a success, said Baldwin.