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Washington’s Lake Roosevelt Hotspot for Trout

SPOKANE – Springtime at Lake Roosevelt means time to grab your fishing pole, because  hundreds of thousands of rainbow trout will be released from net pens and fish hatcheries in northeast Washington over the next two weeks.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the Spokane Tribe of Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and the Lake Roosevelt Net Pen Project partner each year to raise fish to release into the river to partially mitigate for the loss of anadromous (fish that migrate up rivers from the ocean to spawn) and resident fish by the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.

These fish come from three hatcheries: WDFW’s Sherman Creek Hatchery, the Spokane Tribal Hatchery, and the Lake Roosevelt Volunteer Net Pens. This Bonneville Power Administration- funded program has been implemented cooperatively between WDFW and the Tribes for over 25 years and has created a destination fishery for rainbow trout in Lake Roosevelt in Northeast Washington. 

This week, over 475,000 triploid rainbow trout (a trout with three sets of chromosomes instead of the normal two (diploid) that are stocked in some lakes to help reduce interaction with native species living in the same waters) will be released from the Sherman Creek Net Pens and Lake Roosevelt Volunteer Net Pens. These fish are approximately 8-12 inches and will grow over the coming months to greater than 18 inches.

“The fish stocked this month will provide fishing opportunity for the next two years as they grow and spread throughout the reservoir,” said Chris Donley, Region 1 Fish Program manager. “The weather is great, the scenery is great, the fishing is great – it’s never a bad day to get out and take advantage of this amazing resource of a river and fishery we have right in our backyard.”

The Spokane Tribe, with support from WDFW staff and tanker trucks, will also be releasing 10,000 triploid rainbows into the lower third of the lake. These fish are approximately one pound each.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish, wildlife, and recreational and commercial opportunities.

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