Quinault National Fish Hatchery
Pacific Region

Fish Species

Chalaat Creek Rearing - Hoh RiverThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works towards the restoration of depleted anadromous fish stocks.  In cooperation the Quinault Indian Nation, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Hoh Nation, the following objectives have been established:

  • Restore salmon stocks on the north Pacific Coast to levels that will meet escapement objectives after harvest,
  • Maintain Steelhead stocks in all North Coast watersheds to levels that will support sport and commercial harvests commensurate with historical harvest levels
  • Maintain all salmon in the North Coast that are managed for natural production at current levels while meeting escapement goals.

Spawning of adult fish occurs every week beginning in October and ends in January.  Adult Coho salmon are the first fish spawned while in November, December, and January the hatchery is busy with returning Steelhead, Chum and Fall Chinook salmon.

Annually, the hatchery releases 660,000 Coho salmon, 1.5 million Chum salmon, 400,000 Fall Chinook, and 190,000 Steelhead trout. Off-station releases include Coho and Steelhead fry into the Quinault and Raft rivers.  The Quinault NFH also transfers 100,000 Steelhead trout to the Hoh River. At peak production, the hatchery has over 3 million fish on station!

Fall Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

The Fall Chinook salmon program is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Quinault Nation.  Fall Chinook Salmon are very valuable to tribal fisherman. To supplement Fall Chinook salmon returns to the fishery, brood stock are collected at the Quinault Nation’s Pen Rearing facility on Lake Quinault.  Adults are spawned, sampled by Service veterinarians, and then male and female gametes are transferred to the Quinault NFH.  The staff fertilizes and incubates the eggs in the Egg Isolation Building. U.S. Fish and Wildlife pathologists determine if the samples taken from the adults contained any diseases.  If the parents are disease free, then the eggs/fry become part of the fish production program at the Quinault NFH. The hatchery tries to release at least 400,000 Fall Chinook fingerlings every July. Fall Chinook returning to QNFH are 4 years old.

Coho Salmon (O. kisutch)

Male Coho salmon - spawning phaseAn average of 10,000 Coho salmon adults are caught in the tribal fishery and 10,000 return to the hatchery each year. In 2010, Coho returns reached an all time high of over 40,000 adults returning to the Quinault River. Returning adults are 2 (jacks) and 3 year old fish.  The first year of their life is spent in fresh water in hatchery ponds.  Fry emerge from incubators in February and are cared for until the following year.  Yearling Coho are released from the hatchery in April. Adults begin their migration back to the hatchery as early as September of each year.

Hoh River Steelhead Trout (O. mykiss)

Chalaat Creek Rearing pond - Hoh RiverUnique to the hatchery’s fish production program is the Hoh River Steelhead program.  At the request of the Hoh Indian Nation over twenty years ago, the Quinault NFH began rearing winter Steelhead to be released into the Hoh River. Today, 50,000 fish are transferred to the Chalaat Creek rearing pond and 50,000 are planted at Allen’s Bar on the Hoh River. These fish support tribal commercial and non-Indian sport fisheries in the Hoh River.  




Winter-run Steelhead Trout (O. mykiss)

Cook Creek Steelhead troutIn addition to the 100,000 Steelhead yearlings produced for the Hoh Indian Nation, the QNFH also raises and releases 190,000 winter-run Steelhead trout.  Yearlings (smolts) are released directly from the rearing ponds into Cook Creek. Adult Steelhead trout begin returning to the hatchery in November and continue to return until January.  The hatchery takes about 500,000 green eggs  and then culls 300,000 eyed eggs so that the program of 190,000 yearlings are represented by more adults.

Chum Salmon (O. keta)   

One of the more unique species of salmon grown at the QNFH is the Chum Salmon.  The majority of these fish rush to the hatchery the first two week in November.  Female and male adults ready to spawn once they reach the hatchery.  About 650 females are needed to collect enough eggs for a fry release of 1.5 million!  Once the fry are liberated from the incubation trays, they are fed for about 40 days and then released into Cook Creek. Returning adult Chum salmon range in ages from 3 to 5 years.



Last updated: February 15, 2012
Quinault National Fish Hatchery
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