Tag Archives: Rufus Woods

Colville Tribe stocks Rufus Woods with thousands of fish 


Rainbow Trout
A tribal member displays a rainbow raised in net pens on the reservation in Lake Rufus Woods on the Columbia River

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.

Triploid trout have three chromosomes instead of two, which means they can't reproduce. That way, the planted fish that sportsman love can't hurt the native species.
Triploid trout have three chromosomes instead of two, which means they can’t reproduce. That way, the planted fish that sportsman love can’t hurt the native species.

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.




Tribal report says no harm to native runs from escaped farm fish

Upper Columbia steelhead runs are safe and not threatened by farm-raised trout that escaped from net pens off the shores of Rufus Woods Lake this summer, the business that raises the fish said Monday.

A press release from Pacific Aquaculture Inc. states that a senior resident fisheries biologist with the Colville Tribes investigated the situation recently.

The fish farm pays rent and royalties to the Colville Tribes to operate its net pens some 20 miles downstream from Grand Coulee Dam, where it feeds millions of fish.

More than 100,000 of them escaped last summer, following massive die-offs that resulted from too much air injected into the water at Grand Coulee Dam during spring runoff.

The escaped fish triggered a boon in local fishing tourism, with up to 100 or so rigs reportedly parked at the Seaton’s Grove boat launch at times.

“There is no evidence that these farm raised trout are feeding on young migrating steelhead,” said Ed Shallenberger, a Ph.D. with over 20 years’ experience conducting physical and biological studies in the mid-Columbia River, the fish farm reported.

“A recent in-depth analysis of the stomachs of 187 of the escaped farm-raised trout in Rufus Woods Lake determined that the primary food sources for these fish were insects and snails,” Shallenberger said. “Of the 187 fish that were analyzed, only eight had remains from sculpins and sticklebacks. No remains from juvenile trout or salmon were found.”

Shallenberger conducted the tests as part of an ongoing study of Rufus Woods Lake. Concern had been raised by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and others about the safety of young migrating steelhead.

Established in 1941 as a small retail shop in Portland, Ore., Pacific Seafood has become a leader in the seafood industry.

“Like the Department of Fish and Wildlife, we are concerned with the well-being of native fish on the river,” said Pacific Aquaculture Manager John Bielka. “Our top priority has always been to run an operation that is sustainable and safe for the Columbia River System.”

During a special season on Rufus Woods Lake in August, anglers caught hundreds of the escaped sterile trout ranging from 5-10 pounds. The special season attracted anglers from across Washington state.

“While the situation was unfortunate,” Bielka stated, “steelhead runs are safe and the net impact of the fish farm remains positive – for tourism and retail sales and employment for the Colville Nation.”