Salmon festival reels in thousands

Oct 18, 2014 8:30 PM by Charlene Cheng

30,000 fall-run Chinook salmon are returning to the North state, and thousands of people headed to the Coleman National Fish Hatchery in Anderson to welcome them home.

"It's just magnificent to think these fish traveled 300 miles from this location about three years ago, spent a couple years ago in the ocean, and returned back 300 miles to the place where they were born," said Scott Hamelberg, Project Manager of the Coleman National Fish Hatchery Complex.

The journey back is already not an easy one, but especially so with this year's conditions.

"Because of the drought, we had very high water temperatures, we had a bacterial infection that was pretty serious, it destroyed their gill tissue," said John Foott, who works with the California/Nevada Fish Health Center.

Thanks to careful monitoring and antibiotic treatments, this run migrated safely to Battle Creek, and will head up the fish ladder and into the holding ponds.

"We'll go ahead and we'll collect the eggs and collect milk from the males, put the two together to fertilize the eggs. Those eggs will then stay in incubation for up to 80 days, and then we'll put them into our large juvenile rearing ponds," Hamelberg said.

The circle of life continues, and those juveniles will be released from this facility next April.


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