Salmon Move Into Nimbus Hatchery

Nimbus Fish Hatchery workers have counted a total of 2,765 fall-run Chinook salmon, including 789 jacks and jills (two-year-old fish), at the facility since the salmon ladder opened Monday, Nov. 2

Considering the low flows of 500 cfs, this return is surprisingly good. Last year at this time the hatchery staff had counted approximately 2950 salmon, including 350 adults.

The other good news is that the water temperature on the river has cooled down 5 to 7 degrees over one week.

“The water temperature has gone down to 55 to 57 degrees, depending on which gauge you go by,” said Gary Novak, hatchery manager. “That’s phenomenal; last year the water temperature didn’t cool down to this temperature until the middle of November.”

The hatchery has spawned salmon three times to date. Novak noted that many of the fish at the facility are still “green,” not ready for spawning yet.

The 300,000 juvenile steelhead that will be released into the river system next February have also returned to the hatchery, after spending the summer at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville, due to high water temperatures at Nimbus.

A record low number of Central Valley steelhead, listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, returned to the American River in January, February and March of 2015 and December of 2014. Only 143 adult steelhead returned to Nimbus Fish Hatchery during this time. In good years, the hatchery has trapped between 2000 and 4000 adult steelhead.

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