340K Fingerlings Lost at Trout Hatchery

Trout fingerlings lost at a Washington hatchery due to recent heavy rains will be replaced by other hatcheries, according to the state's fish and wildlife agency.

WDFW Facebook screenshot

More than a quarter-million trout fingerlings at the Chelan Fish Hatchery in Washington state were lost recently due to heavy rains.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, around 340,000 rainbow, brook and tiger trout fingerlings were lost on March 21 when a water intake became clogged.

The lost fish represent 57 percent of the hatchery's annual production of those three species.

The agency said the fish will be replaced by other state hatcheries for stocking in north-central Washington lakes.

From WDFW press release:

Eric Kinne, WDFW Hatchery Systems Manager, said heavy rain washed soil and debris into the intake, plugging the screens and cutting off water flow to the fish incubation building. The rain washed down the steep hillside behind the hatchery, where re-vegetation is still underway following wildfires in 2015 that destroyed all the soil-holding trees.

Kinne said WDFW is moving surplus fish from the state's Columbia Basin and Spokane hatcheries to replace most of the loss. As a result, lakes in Douglas, Chelan, and Okanogan counties will receive at least 80 percent of their planned trout stocking this spring. He said WDFW is continuing to search for more fish to replace the lost stocks.

The Chelan Hatchery is one of the oldest trout hatcheries in the state and uses gravity-fed springs as its sole water source. It annually produces 1.3 million rainbow, brook, brown, cutthroat, and tiger trout and kokanee for lowland and high lake stocking.

The state hatchery is adjacent to another hatchery, which is owned by Chelan Public Utilities District and operated by WDFW. Production at that hatchery was not affected by the heavy rains, because groundwater wells provide its water.

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