The annual process of spawning millions of salmon returned to Oroville this week as the Feather River Fish Hatchery began the two-month process of harvesting over 15 million salmon eggs.
Open to the public on September 15, the Feather River Fish Hatchery raises Chinook salmon and steelhead along the Feather River, just below Lake Oroville. The hatchery is wonderful place to learn about the salmon spawning process and includes an underwater window to see the hatchery displays and a viewing area of the fish ladder.
The Department of Fish & Wildlife says they’ll likely harvest more than 3 million Spring-Run Chinook Salmon eggs and 12 million Fall-Run eggs over the next two months.
The process of harvesting salmon is a long and arduous journey, but hatchery officials hope to give the salmon the best opportunity to survive and spawn in the future.
Hatchery officials extract the eggs from the returning salmon and manually harvest them in the facility. Once the eggs become baby fish, they are released into the river, where they begin the long journey to the Pacific Ocean. After three years in the ocean, they use their natural GPS system to return through the Delta, up the Sacramento River to the Feather River. Then the process begins all over again.
The process can be seen for free at the 2022 Oroville Salmon Festival, which is scheduled for Saturday, September 24 at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville.