Steelhead Return to the Clearwater
The famous Clearwater “B” Run fish return to the hatchery from the Pacific Ocean, traveling more than 450 miles. The Steelhead return in August and spawn from February through April. The Spring Salmon return to the Clearwater in April and spawn from late August to September. The Clearwater will also see a return of Coho Salmon from September through late November and spawning out throughout the season.
Returning “B” Run Steelhead can grow to 25 pounds while living most of the adult life in the ocean. The fish raised in the hatchery are marked in a trailer and a small fin clipped before they are released in the spring. These marks allow for anglers to identify a hatchery fish which is legal to harvest during the sport fishing season.
World’s Largest Hatchery
Each Spring the dams on the lower Snake and Columbia Rivers increase the water flow release to push the smolt downstream to the Ocean. The Steelhead and Salmon Smolt are also barged downstream all the way to the Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River. The Dworshak hatchery can produce as many 2 million steelhead smolt in a season. An adult female steelhead can lay 6500 eggs in which 50-60 adult fish return back to the Clearwater 3 years later. Chinook Salmon lay 3000 eggs and only produce 2-4 adult fish returning to the river. Our river is also very fortunate to have the Nez Perce Tribe raise steelhead and salmon at the tribal hatcheries on the Clearwater River.