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Spokane Fish Hatchery News & Updates..

Spokane Fish Hatchery Egg Harvesting

Randy Nelson, Greg Crites and Hope Crites were able to volunteer for the Kokanee egg harvesting that occurred on 11/14/12. We arrived to find the fish needed to be sorted because the fish had created a hole in the crowder that were separating the males from the females. The fish were captured with nets and placed in a horse troft, so we could separate the males, egg producing females, and the non egg producing females. This process took about 2 hours.

We then split into two groups one group harvested the eggs from the egg producing females and the other group milked the sperm from the males. Trust me it’s not as easy as it sounds. We collected 10 bags of sperm containing 50 fish’s sperm in each bag. Keep in mind that water is a bad thing, yet we were in the tank with the fish and bottom line we were wet. It would never fail we would get 25 fish’s sperm in the cup and we would either spill the cup or we would grab an egg producing female getting eggs in the sperm. Did I mention eggs were a bad thing also? Our sorting efforts were good, but not good enough. We got to the point we checked every fish before we went near the cups. This process took 2 ½ to 3 hours.

I would recommend volunteering for this worthwhile event if nothing else for the experience. I would never touch fish previously I think this event cured me of that.


The eggs and sperm were transported from the tanks to the hatchery for the fertilization process. We had a great time with the staff from the Fish Hatchery. Everyone took the time to teach us what needed to be done and sharing stories of our adventures.

SCI Sponsored Fish Hatchery Tours

Thirty Saint George’s 6th grade students took the short walk from their school to attend a scheduled SCI Inland Empire Chapter (Spokane) sponsored tour of the Spokane Fish Hatchery recently. Upon arrival they learned that special treatment and a chance to give back was the order of the day.

In January, the last of the Rainbow Trout egg harvest had been completed, placing over 9 million live trout eggs in various stages of growth within the hatchery rearing troughs. In the early stages there are 25,000 eggs per trough, but not all eggs are healthy, consequently some die and turn white in color. These “bad eggs” must be removed promptly, one at a time, using a turkey baster type suction device, (tedious work at best). With 15 baster tools on hand, that is exactly what the kids got to do.

After a brief “how to” session conducted by the hatchery staff and myself, half the class (including the school chaperons), began the egg picking process. The other half followed me and attended the normal SCI guided tour of the hatchery facility. After seeing the overview video, visiting the various trout ponds and Griffith Spring (the water source for the hatchery), the last stop on the tour is the brood stock pens where the kids get to feed 5-7 pound Rainbows that hungrily swarmed to the food being tossed into their pond. Once the food was gone and the fish were fed…it was back to the rearing troughs where the kids swapped places and we walked through the drill one more time.

Many questions were asked and answered. As a result, I’d like to think the kids learned a bit about the value of our natural resources and the outdoors. Fun was had by all. And…I believe some of those kids did go home and ask their parent to take them fishing this coming spring…in hopes of catching one of those big brooders.

Mission Accomplished!

SCI members…it’s any easy gig…and it’s fun…additional tour guides are always needed and welcome.

Contact Randy Nelson @ Ph# 590-5517 to learn how you can become an SCI Fish Hatchery Tour Guide.


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