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Sockeye salmon transferred to Springfield

Idaho Fish and Game Department personnel have transported about 4,000 adult sockeye salmon from the department’s Eagle Fish Hatchery to its sockeye hatchery at Springfield. The action is being taken to ensure the fish are protected if there is flooding at the Eagle facility. “It’s not a matter of minimizing risk, it’s eliminating it,” said Gary Byrne, Fish and Game’s fish production manager. Byrne expects no problems with F&G crews transporting the fish to Springfield. “These guys are pros,” he said. “They’ve brought adult sockeye all the way from western Washington to Redfish Lake for release.” The Springfield Fish Hatchery near Aberdeen is dedicated solely to sockeye production. Hundreds of thousands of juveniles are being raised at the hatchery for eventual release below Redfish Lake near Stanley, and there’s room for the adults there as well. The Springfield Fish Hatchery was completed in 2013 and is expected to produce a million sockeye smolts for release in 2018. The fish won’t be spawning until October and the department plans to bring the fish back to Eagle when the risk is minimal. Snake River sockeye salmon are protected under the Endangered Species Act. In 2016, 567 sockeye returned to the Sawtooth Valley, slightly below the 10-year average of 664 fish, but a huge improvement over previous decades.

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