Oroville, Calif. - Salmon spawning is in session this week in Oroville.
The gates opened Friday, Sept. 14, at 8 a.m., and by Monday morning you can easily see hundreds of thousands of fish swimming past the windows in the ladder at the Feather River Fish Hatchery.
At the main hatchery, west of Table Mountain Boulevard, you can watch technicians perform the spawning process.
The Department of Fish & Wildlife says they'll likely harvest more than 3 million Spring-Run Chinook Salmon eggs and 12 million Fall-Run eggs over the next two months.
They'll raise them into young fish until they're strong enough to be released into the river by Springtime.
These fish have spent two to three years maturing in the ocean, and then follow their instincts back to their birthplace, traveling
through the Delta, up the Sacramento River to the Feather River and the hatchery.
Though many fish end up spawning down-river below the hatchery, the ones that are artificially spawned at the hatchery
produce offspring that have a better chance of survival.
That's because their eggs are protected from predators like other fish and birds, or changes in the flow and temperature of the river.
You can see the salmon through the viewing windows and from the observation deck by the bottom of the fish barrier dam.
This is a big day for kids across the area who will come out here for field trips to watch the spawning process.
If you don't make it out for the kick-off, you can catch the technicians in action on weekdays, sunrise to sunset, until mid-November.
Of course, this is all leading up to the annual Oroville Salmon Festival, which is just two weeks away.
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- 24th Annual 'Salmon Festival' Held in Downtown Oroville
- Lake Oroville State Recreation Area Improvements Underway
- Estom Yumeka Tribe Holds Salmon Giveaway
- Salmon fishing season begins in Butte County
- California salmon lose way after ride downstream in drought
- Breeding bugs to feed the salmon around Northern California
- Salmon Season Now in Session for Sac, Feather Rivers
- Local Volunteers Work to Protect Salmon After Camp Fire