Skip Navigation

FY 2016 Program Highlights


Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery celebrates 125 years of supporting commercial, tribal, sport fish harvests

Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery (NFH) in Cook, WA, began raising salmon in 1896, when William McKinley was President and there were 45 states in the Union. Now, 125 years later, the hatchery is not only still going strong, it's pitching in and helping other facilities raise fish and meet propagation goals, too.

Each year, Little White Salmon NFH rears and releases more than 5 million spring and fall Chinook to support Columbia Basin hydropower mitigation and U.S. tribal treaty responsibilities, and raises and transfers more than 6.5 million fish and eggs to the Yakama Nation to support tribal salmon restoration efforts.
2016 Spawning day at Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery 2016 Spawning day at Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS

In addition to its own programs, in 2016 the hatchery helped collect and incubate more than 1.7 million eggs from adult broodstock brought from Carson and Warm Springs NFHs. The Little White Salmon River's cool water temperatures and the hatchery's extra capacity proved invaluable this summer and early fall as the waterline to Carson's incubation room was replaced.

Meanwhile, elevated water temperatures at Warm Springs NFH prompted managers to once again use Little White’s cooler water both for holding and spawning its adults. But this summer nearly 600,000 juvenile Chinook were also brought to the hatchery to take a few months' break from the Central Oregon heat. Heathy versus IHNV infected fish cellsLoading fish for transfer from Little White Salmon Nation Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS

While cooler fall temperatures and rain mean Carson and Warm Springs NFH eggs and fish have been transported back to their ‘home’ basins, Little White Salmon’s own adult fall Chinook returns and spawning goals ensure the hatchery will be anything but quiet--or emptier--in the coming months. But then again, if you’ve been in continuous operations for more than a century and play a key role in Northwest hatchery propagation, that’s just how you go with the flow. The diverse 2016 spawning crew hard at work. Credit: USFWS

--Sean Connolly, Pacfiic Region Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program

Read a first-hand account of a Service employee's experience spawning Chinook salmon at Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery.



Last Updated: May 25, 2017
Return to main navigation