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Pahsimeroi Fish Hatchery

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 

Location

The Pahsimeroi Hatchery (PFH) is comprised of two separate facilities - the lower Pahsimeroi Fish Hatchery (lower PFH) and the upper Pahsimeroi Fish Hatchery (upper PFH). The lower PFH is located on the Pahsimeroi River approximately 1.0 mile above its confluence with the main Salmon River near Ellis, Idaho. The upper PFH (the main facility) is located approximately 8 miles further upstream from the lower facility on the Pahsimeroi River just off of Dowton Lane in May, Idaho.

Funding Source

Funded by Idaho Power Company (IPC) as mitigation for the construction and ongoing operation of the Hells Canyon Dam Complex (HCC).

Type of Program

The PFH was constructed in 1967 by IPC and the upper PFH was renovated by IPC in 2007. Both facilities are owned and funded by IPC. Hatchery operations and management is the responsibility of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG). The summer Chinook and summer steelhead programs are IPC's mitigation obligation under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for anadromous fish losses caused by the construction and operation of the HCC (Brownlee, Oxbow and Hell's Canyon dams) on the Snake River. In 1992, the Snake River Summer Chinook Salmon (Onchorhynchus tshawytscha) was listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA).

Visitors

Visiting hours are from 8:00am to 5:00pm seven days a week. Tours are available for individuals or groups. We also give tours to students and classes of all ages.

Species Production

Salmon - The provisions of the Hells Canyon Settlement Agreement (HCSA) stipulate that enough summer Chinook salmon adults should be trapped and spawned at the PFH to permit the production of 1 million summer Chinook salmon smolts annually. The program goal is to replace adult spring/summer Chinook salmon lost to the construction and ongoing operation of the HCC.

Steelhead - The provisions of the Hells Canyon Settlement Agreement (HCSA) stipulate that enough summer steelhead adults should be trapped and spawned at the PFH to permit the annual production of 200,000 pounds of Pahsimeroi A-run summer steelhead smolts at Niagara Springs Fish Hatchery. The program goal is to replace adult steelhead lost to the construction and ongoing operation of the HCC.

Adult steelhead arrive at the lower PFH trap from March through May. Adult hatchery fish are identified by the absence of an adipose fin. Adult fish that have an adipose fin are considered wild and are released back into the Pahsimeroi River above the weir to spawn naturally.

When adult fish enter the trap they are removed daily, checked for tags, and measured for length. After processing the trap, the fish are transferred to holding ponds to await spawning.

Spawning begins in mid-March and concludes on May 15. Surplus hatchery adult steelhead are given to the Shoshone-Bannock tribe and registered food banks. Spawned out carcasses are given to the general public on spawn days usually Mondays and Thursdays throughout the spawning season.

Eggs are collected and incubated from hatchery adult steelhead. Once the eggs reach the eyed-stage they are shipped to Niagara Springs Hatchery in Wendell, ID for production. Once the fish reach smolt size, approximately 8.0 inches the smolts are transferred back to PFH and are released back into the Pahsimeroi River (in April of the following year) where they begin their migration to the Pacific Ocean.

Adult Chinook salmon arrive at the hatchery trap from late June through September. Adult hatchery fish are identified by the absence of an adipose fin. Adult fish that have an adipose fin are considered wild and are released back into the Pahsimeroi River above the weir to spawn naturally.

When adult fish enter the trap they are removed daily, check for tags, and measured for length. Each fish receives an injection of antibiotic to prevent disease. The USDA prohibits their consumption after this treatment.

After the fish are processed from the trap they are placed into holding ponds to await spawning. The fish are held in holding ponds all summer until they begin to mature. Spawning commences on September 1 and concludes October 1.

Eggs are collected at the lower PFH and then transferred to the upper PFH for incubation and rearing. The incubation and rearing cycle takes 18 months. The incubation period is from September through mid-January and the rearing period is from mid-January through through March of the following year. Once the fish become smolts they are released volitionally from the rearing ponds into the Pahsimeroi River (usually April 1) where they begin their migration to the Pacific Ocean.



Steelhead Chinook Salmon


Learn more about these fish and others in our fish identification section.
71 Fish Hatchery Lane
May, ID 83253
(208) 876-4330

location map

aerial view of Pahsimeroi hatchery

hatchery worker
Last Updated: May 24, 2012 
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