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Spokane Fish Hatchery
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
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
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.