SALMON RUN ENDS, MORE THAN ENOUGH EGGS COLLECTED
PIERRE – South Dakota’s Lake Oahe salmon run at the Whitlock Bay Salmon Spawning Station has ended for 2002, and according to Game, Fish and Parks officials, more than 700 salmon made it up the ladder.
"We received 728 Chinook salmon up the Whitlock Spawning Station fish ladder, this fall," said Fisheries Biologist Bob Hanten. "From those fish, fisheries personnel collected in excess of one million salmon eggs. We will use some of these eggs to stock a small number of salmon in 2003 to help guarantee a future salmon fishery in Lake Oahe. The remaining salmon eggs and fingerlings will go to Montana to assist Montana’s Fort Peck salmon population."
Hanten reiterated that the top priority right now when managing Lake Oahe fisheries is to increase the lake’s rainbow smelt numbers. However, there is also the need to focus on maintaining a Lake Oahe salmon egg source for the future.
"While Game, Fish and Parks wants to further decrease the number of predators in Lake Oahe until rainbow smelt numbers substantially increase, a few salmon need to be stocked each year to help ensure a source of salmon eggs for the future," Hanten said. "The main concern is that if salmon eggs are not taken this fall and salmon are not stocked into Lake Oahe next spring, then there would likely not be a salmon egg source from Lake Oahe after the fall of 2003."
Chinook salmon will eat rainbow smelt. However, Game, Fish and Parks biologists believe the benefits of stocking a small number of salmon far outweigh the minimal number of rainbow smelt that will be consumed.
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