Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hatchery Viewing Announcement

Hatchery has front roe seats
Bee Metro Staff -
Published 12:00 am PST Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The public is invited to watch state Department of Fish and Game technicians artificially spawn steelhead from 8 a.m. to noon each Wednesday through March at the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center, 2001 Nimbus Road, Rancho Cordova.

Each year workers artificially spawn at least 200 steelhead at the hatchery along the south bank of the American River at Hazel Avenue. That effort yields about half a million eggs, according to Terry West, hatchery manager.

With luck, a like number of juvenile steelhead are eventually raised and released into the river about a year later to start a perilous 125-mile journey to the Pacific Ocean. After about two years in the ocean, some of those small steelhead reach seven to 12 pounds and return to the American River to spawn.

Officials estimate that only about 10,000 out of the original half-million make it that far.

The artificial spawning operation is an effort to maintain steelhead runs on the American River. Construction of Nimbus Dam and Folsom Dam blocked migration of steelhead and salmon to traditional spawning areas farther upriver.

Call (916) 358-2884 for more information.