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Steelhead Salmon Extinction in the Columbia

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Dalles Daily Chronicle Saturday, January 7, 1899


May Become Extinct Unless Artificial Means of Propagating Them Are Used.

The steelhead salmon, which are the most valuable of all for cold storage packing, is threatened with extinction in the Columbia, and unusual efforts are to be made to increase the output of fry the coming season.

Last season was the first year artificial propagation had been tried with this species on the upper coast. A hatchery belonging to Thomas Brown and George Broughton, on the Sandy river, was used for this purpose. The expense was defrayed by private subscription, and about one million Steelhead fry were turned into the waters of the Columbia. Fish Commissioner McGuire has already taken the matter up, and expects to make satisfactory arrangements with the men owning the hatchery to again carry on their work this winter. He has not yet seen the other members of the commission, but feels sure they will heartily co-operate with him in this matter. 

The scarcity of Steelhead Salmon has caused the price to go up, until this species is the highest priced now taken out of the river. The Steelheads spawn in the late winter and early spring, while the Chinooks spawn in the fall. The heavy freshets are very destructive to the Steelhead spawn and, for that reason, artificial propagation is absolutely necessary to increase the output.

Well, we all know how that turned out....

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