Winthrop National Fish Hatchery
Pacific Region
 

Fish Species

The Winthrop National Fish Hatchery (WNFH) has gone through two recent review processes including an internal review by the Fish and Wildlife Service Hatchery Review Team (HRT) in 2006 and a subsequent review of programs by the Hatchery Scientific Review Group (HSRG) in 2008. Several meetings with co-managers regarding the review findings have since resulted in some program changes which are expected to take place over the next 5 to 10 years. The most significant of these changes are a decrease in spring chinook production and an effort to develop a local steelhead stock, eventually doubling steelhead production at the facility.

WNFH is also collecting adult steelhead at the facility and on the river near the hatchery and is developing a local stock of steelhead. The collection and transfer of steelhead at Wells Dam is gradually being phased out.

Spring Chinook Salmon

Camouflage covered raceway ponds - Photo: USFWS
Camouflage covered raceway ponds.
USFWS

Spring Chinook Salmon are raised at the WNFH for the first 18 months of their lives. In April of each year they are released from the hatchery raceways through underground pipes to the Methow River where they begin an arduous 600 mile journey down the Columbia River, through 9 major hydropower dams to finally reach the ocean.

One to three years later they will return as adult salmon traveling up the Columbia to spawn in the Methow River or the WNFH and create a new generation of fish. Adult spring Chinook salmon enter the Columbia River from March through May. Spawning of these fish at WNFH occurs from mid-August through early September.

Visit our Returns page to find out how many fish have returned last year.


Steelhead

Fish Biologist weighing fish - Photo: USFWS
Fish Biologist weighing fish.
USFWS

Steelhead are the sea-run form of rainbow trout. Juvenile steelhead are raised here for the first 14 months of their lives. In April and May of each year they are released from the hatchery into the Methow River. After one to two years in the ocean they return as adults. Returning adult steelhead from this hatchery often contribute to successful local sport fisheries on the Methow River.

Adult steelhead enter the Columbia River in June through September. Spawning of these fish occurs at the Wells Dam State Fish Hatchery from January through March. Eyed eggs are transferred to WNFH in February of each year.

Coho Salmon

Returning Adult Coho Salmon - Photo: USFWS
Returning adult coho salmon.
USFWS

Juvenile coho salmon are raised here for the first 16 months of their lives. Release of the juvenile coho from WNFH occurs in April of each year. Coho are released directly from the hatchery to the Methow River. One and one half years later they will return as adult salmon.

Coho salmon became extinct in the Upper Columbia River Basin following the construction of several hydroelectric projects (dams), prior to the initial construction of Grand Coulee Dam in 1933 (Mullan, 1984). The program at WNFH is part of a coho restoration feasibility study initiated by the Yakama Nation.  Spawning of these fish at WNFH occurs in November.

 

 

 

 

Chinook Salmon - Photo: USFWS
Chinook Salmon
USFWS

 
Coho Salmon - Photo: NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Coho Salmon
NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center
 
Steelhead Trout- Photo: USFWS
Steelhead Trout
USFWS
 
Rainbow Trout - Photo: USFWS
Rainbow Trout
USFWS
 
Pacific Lamprey - Photo: USFWS
Pacific Lamprey
USFWS
 
Bull Trout - Photo: USFWS
Bull Trout
USFWS
 
Aquatic Invasive Species Zebra Mussels - Photo: USGS
Aquatic Invasive
Species (AIS)
Zebra Mussels

USGS
Last updated: March 25, 2013
Winthrop National Fish Hatchery
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