Satsop Springs Hatchery
The Task Force has managed the Satsop Springs Fish Hatchery since taking it over for WDFW.
Satsop Springs, managed by the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force, is a beautiful fish-rearing and brood-stocking facility located on the East Fork Satsop River. The facility is about 60 acres and fed by springs for year-round fish rearing. Because of this, our water temperature remains very cold and constant. No water is pumped from the river, which makes Satsop Springs very cost-effective. The facility is managed by one hatchery manager and an administrative director who manages the fiscal needs of the facility in addition to the fish restoration grants active throughout the Chehalis Basin.
Annually at the Satsop Springs Fish Rearing Facility, we raise 7,000 trophy-sized Rainbow Trout to release into local ponds/lakes within Grays Harbor and Mason Counties. Water bodies include Lake Nahwatzel, Lost Lake, Vance Creek Pond #1, Vance Creek Pond #2, Lake Sylvia, Aberdeen Lake, Failor Lake, and Duck Lake. These fish exceed 5 pounds and can range into the mid-teens. The trout are released for spring break fisheries, the lake opener, and for kids' fishing derbies. These plants are accomplished with the assistance of dozens of volunteers helping to seine, load, and haul them to the lakes.
In addition to trout, Satsop Springs releases 450,000 Coho Salmon, 225,000 Chum Salmon, and as many as 300,000 Chinook Salmon. The egg takes are achieved through our brood stock collection program through hook & line and seining efforts. This activity is aided by local volunteers. Egg take goals for Chum are 450,000 and for Chinook 600,000. These eggs are transferred to the Bingham Creek Hatchery where they are incubated, mass marked as juveniles, and half are transferred back to Satsop Springs where they are reared and released. The other half are reared and released at the Bingham Creek Hatchery.
The Coho egg take is done at the Bingham Creek Hatchery. The juveniles are transported down to Satsop Springs where they are reared and released as well. The adult Cohos that return to Satsop Springs are excess fish and are sold to a fish buyer. Funds generated from egg and carcass sales are put back into the facility for maintenance and upgrades, which provides fish from which all user groups benefit.
Once we have spawned the fish for our egg-take goals, the carcasses are loaded into totes and taken to small tributaries within the Satsop River Basin and distributed for nutrient enhancement. Our nutrient enhancement program provides food for juvenile fish, generates underwater insects, as well as providing a food source for animals that rely on salmon for survival.
Within the past 6 years we have replaced most of the culverts between rearing ponds and now can manage water flow more effectively. Now, Satsop Springs operates very smoothly with better water controls and improved holding capacities. In the near future, additional ponding is being considered to hold some of our trout for later releases for fishing derbies and more rearing capacity. Fish for later releases are currently transferred to the Bingham Creek Hatchery to accommodate the annual pond cleaning which has a very narrow window between the restocking efforts. Each year the ponds are flushed by using hydraulic hoses to remove fecal debris in preparation for the next batch of fish to be raised. The debris flushed from the ponds is pumped into a holding pond with no direct flow to the river which allows natural filtration back into the Satsop system and traps unwanted sediment.
Each year from mid-March through mid-June, Satsop Springs outplants rainbow trout that we have raised, to sites around Grays Harbor. The facility raises about 7,000 trophy-sized trout each year and plant to ponds in Lost Lake, Lake Nahwatzel, Lake Sylvia, Lake Aberdeen, Failor Lake, Vance Creek (#1 and #2), and Duck Lake in Ocean Shores. Aside from Lake Nahwatzel, each of the other lakes hold derbies from the rainbow trout that we plant. Organizations such as the Elma Game Club, G. H. Poggie Club, Montesano Moose, and City of Ocean Shores hold annual youth fishing derbie to catch one of these prized rainbow trout.
Volunteers are extremely valuable assets to our organization! There are many ways to volunteer with the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force. We have a wide range of opportunities for individual volunteers and community groups. Persons who are interested in becoming involved with CBFTF efforts are encouraged to apply.