|Entiat National Fish Hatchery
Happy anniversary! Well, almost anniversary. June 27 is the actual date. Anniversary of what you may ask? It's the anniversary of my last post. I hope this post is worth the wait. I've been inspired to write after reading posts from Jim and Barb (JimandBarb'sRVAdventure) and Dino and Lisa (MNdrifters). Building houses in the middle of a South Dakota summer snow storm! Going undercover, changing your name, buying a 2nd RV and then leaving the country! These guys are nuts. My kind of nuts. I like 'em! And I bet you will too.
|Somewhere in the Cascades
|Columbia River south of Chelan
|Just One of our Jeep Adventures
|Jim & Deb - Mad River Rd to Leavenworth
We've driven the Cascade Loop and visited Fort Casey and the Tulip Festival on the Washington coast. Lots of stuff to do in this area, I hope we have time for it all!
Joan and I are working maintenance at the hatchery. We work 3 days a week, Friday-Sunday. We've done some landscaping, pressure washing and painting as well as assisting with some community events such as Entiat National Hatchery's Outdoor Skills (4th - 7th graders fishing, archery and wetland activities) and Winthrop National Hatchery's Kid's Fishing Day. One of our primary job responsibilities is the weekend care of the 420,000 summer Chinook salmon that are spawned, raised and released onsite here at the hatchery each year.
And that brings us to the Question of the Day! Which came first, The fish or the egg?
The Entiat hatchery was established and began operations in 1941. Fish raised in the hatchery are released each April into the Entiat River. From there the salmon enter the Columbia River and begin a 500 mile trip to the Pacific ocean. Along the way they have to navigate through 8 dams. Once to the Pacific they remain there on average 4-6 years before returning to their spawning grounds. Of the 420,000 salmon released approximately 4,000 or 1% successfully return. Salmon begin arriving at the hatchery as early as June and July. Returning salmon return to the hatchery up the Columbia, over the dams, into the Entiat and enter a fish ladder directly into a holding raceway at the hatchery. They are kept in the raceways until October when the fish are ready to spawn.
|Nursery tray with
@4000 salmon eggs
All of the eggs from a single female are then placed into an individual nursery tray; and then into racks where they are immersed in flowing 40 degree water. About 3 months after they are fertilized the eggs hatch and the resulting fry (small fish) begin to feed off (absorb) their egg sack. It's not until 6 months after fertilization before the egg sack is completely absorbed and the fry's digestive track is developed.
|6 months old
At this point the fry need to be fed daily, so they are moved outdoors into the raceways where they will mature for another 11 months. A special pump with an attachment much like a giant vacuum cleaner is brought in...
and then pumped into 6 larger outdoor raceways. Initially each raceway holds 70,000 fish.
The fish remain in the outdoor raceways for about 10-11 months when they'll be large enough to survive on their own. About 18 months after fertilization the salmon will be released back into the Entiat River. The special pump is brought in and the fish are pumped from the raceways into the river where they will travel to the Pacific, hopefully returning to Entiat in 4-5 years.
Shout out to my grandson Greyson who just turned 3!
That's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come.