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Fisheries crews have completed their annual salmon spawning operation on Lake Sakakawea after collecting 1.5 million eggs, easily surpassing their goal of 900,000.
Dave Fryda, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Missouri River System supervisor, said the majority of eggs came from Lake Sakakawea and the remainder from the Missouri River below Garrison Dam. The average size of Lake Sakakawea females was about 6.5 pounds, similar to 2011. The Missouri River females, which are typically larger than the lake fish, were smaller in size this year reflecting the decline in forage abundance in Lake Oahe.
â€śThe 2012 salmon spawning run was a success with good numbers of fish available throughout the run,â€ť Fryda said. â€śWe were able to exceed our own egg collection goals early, which enabled us to provide assistance to South Dakota and possibly Montana in meeting their egg needs for 2013.â€ť
Plans for 2013 are to stock Lake Sakakawea with 200,000 salmon, with none scheduled for the river below Garrison Dam, Fryda said.
Chinook salmon begin their spawning run in October. Since salmon cannot naturally reproduce in North Dakota, Game and Fish Department and Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery personnel collect eggs and
Fisheries Division Recognizes Tuttle Wildlife Club
The State Game and Fish Department recently honored the Tuttle Wildlife Club for its ongoing efforts to develop and improve public use facilities at numerous lakes in northern Kidder County.
Each year the Departmentâ€™s fisheries division presents a â€śCertificate of Appreciationâ€ť to an organization that has signed on as a cooperating partner in local projects. District fisheries supervisor Paul Bailey said the Tuttle group is â€śan outstanding example of the difference a small club can make on their local fisheries.â€ť
Tuttle club members over the years have helped with construction and installation of boat ramps, courtesy docks, toilets, fishing piers, fishing access roads and parking areas at lakes Josephine, Cherry, Jasper, Frettim and Williams, among others.
In addition, Bailey said, the club also assumed primary responsibility for maintaining these facilities after construction. â€śThe long-term commitment of providing the needed maintenance is as important as the initial construction,â€ť Bailey noted, â€śand the club does an outstanding job in performing this task.â€ťtransport them to the hatchery.
Once the eggs hatch, young salmon spend several months in the hatchery before being stocked in Lake Sakakawea.