Between a renewed push for re-introducing salmon to the Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam and a newly developing technology, a consortium of tribes is hopeful that somehow, there will be a way to bring salmon back.
The icon of the Pacific Northwest has been gone from the upper reaches of the Columbia since the building of Grand Coulee Dam. Now they’re actually stopped at Chief Joseph Dam, more than 50 miles downriver.
But a treaty may open for negotiations between the United States and Canada that dictates exchanges of water and electricity and infrastructure provided. And the Upper Columbia United Tribes is hopeful, along with the Colville Confederated Tribes, that a way for cheap transport may have been discovered by company touting its “salmon canon.” Picture a kinder, gentler form of the same kind of suction tube that takes your deposit at a drive-up bank.
Whooshh Innovations, of Bellevue, Washington, has more information about adapting their fruit moving technology, to help solve the problem of letting fish move upstream. Below is a video that demonstrates the innovation. The company has lots more on its website, which was even recently featured in a segment on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Although a way may be found to move salmon upstream over huge dams, that may actually be the easier part of the problem to solve. After hatching, the young salmon have to get back to the ocean. They only swim upstream, so they have to be pushed by a considerable current, which is not present in Lake Roosevelt above Grand Coulee Dam.
But the salmon canon idea is still fun to watch:
Image of a chinook salmon by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used under Creative Commons license.
Staff from the Colville Tribes Resident Fish (CTRF) program released approximately 5,700 “triploid” rainbow trout ranging from two to three pounds each into Lake Rufus Woods July 31.
The fish, which can be identified by the absence of the adipose fin, are part of a supplementation effort of the Rufus Woods Net Pen Project, which the program’s staff oversees. The CTRF program purchases these fish from a local commercial aquaculture facility. Since 2011, some 118,100 triploid rainbow trout have been released into Lake Rufus Woods. Approximately 48,000 will be released this year alone.
“Normally, fish are diploid and have two sets of chromosomes (one from each parent),” Hatchery Manager Jill Phillips said, explaining the word triploid. “When a treatment of heat or pressure is applied to a fertilized egg prior to a certain egg development stage, the results are triploid or three chromosomes within the cell.”
She said, “Triploid rainbow trout females do not develop eggs. Male triploid rainbow trout sperm is not viable. Basically, both sexes are sterile. Utilizing triploid rainbow trout to supplement fisheries allow managers to mitigate impacts on native fish species.”
“Our overall goal of the CTRF program is to provide a subsistence and recreational fishery on Lake Rufus Woods which remains a popular fishing attraction,” said Bret Nine, resident fisheries manager for CTFW.
All non-members fishing by boat on the boundary waters of the Colville Indian Reservation or from the shore of Lake Rufus Woods at a Designated Fishing Area must have either a valid Colville Indian Reservation Fishing Permit, or a valid fishing license issued by the state of Washington, a tribal press release states. Tribal members must possess a Colville tribal identification card, which is a legal permit to fish.
It’s a long way to the water, but Lake Roosevelt is ready and waiting at the end of the ramp at Spring Canyon, the longest launch on the lake.
At this writing, the surface of the lake is 1253 feet above sea level, down 37 vertical feet from full pool.
The launch at Spring Canyon goes down to 1222.
Check the current lake level here.
I talked to three guys pulling out today, and they said it wasn’t a bad ramp. It’s concrete all the way down, and there is a good dock.
That dock is about even with red and green navigational buoys that mark the entrance of the marina in the summer.
This photo will have to suffice, but why is it that fishermen can’t resist saying the equivalent of “You should have been here yesterday!”
“You missed a great shot this morning,” one of the guys at the ramp said. His buddy had been reeling in a resistant rainbow trout that was leaping out of the water when a golden eagle swooped in to try to take it. The big raptor just missed only a few feet from the boat, and the trout eventually met a net >