Hatchery Steelhead

After the hatcheries have gotten their quota of returning fish and they 'close the doors' on the rest of 'em, do they spawn? I know some hatchery and native strains can get mixed but...given no real 'home' water, do they regularly spawn? I've recently debated with a friend about keeping hatchery fish, he felt guilty about keeping his 2nd of the year. I may be wrong (hence the posted Q)but I think it's my duty to keep them out of the way of the native spawners and hell..I pay for hatcheries so why not?!

Thoughts, enlightenment?



Idaho Resident Craftsman/Artisan
I beleive that once the gates are closed hatchery fish will spawn wherever they can. Many times they come into the river only to spawn months later. And the bucks, quite often, will spawn with as many hens as they possibly can. Some hatchery strains are simply natives that they trap and spawn in the hatchery.

Side note: The Intake hole for the reiter ponds hatchery always has hatchery fish stacked up in it. Simply because the water is from the same source and so a lot of them swim up that creek and spawn and ultimately go back to the wild. Or whatever you want to call it.

I don't see why spent hatch jobs are not thrown back into the river as would happen naturally. This fertilizes the river and causes the food chain to start: microbes, bugs, smolts, yearlings and finally adult fish. This could be done by volunteers or they could be dumped off bridges from hatchery trucks. I think laziness is proably the chief reason why this not done. If there is some good scientific reason for not doing so, I would like to know what it is?

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