Clean, Cold Water at the Entiat Hatchery Means Healthy Fish

Earlier this spring, fisheries managers made a startling announcement: there would be no recreational salmon fishing in the Columbia River or its tributaries in 2019. Simply put, there weren’t enough fish to go around.

Aspect Angler Jordan Sanford with a catch on the Enitat

Then, the unexpected happened. Day by day and fish by fish, the number of salmon ascending the Columbia River grew. By early July, increasing counts of summer-run Chinook returning to the upper Columbia made it clear that broodstock goals for regional hatchery programs would indeed be met. On July 11, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife shared some exciting news: local anglers would have a salmon-fishing season after all.

As showcased in a recent article in the Wenatchee World, one reason for this year’s fishing season is strong returns of adult Chinook to the Entiat National Fish Hatchery. In 2014, Aspect hydrogeologists assessed the hatchery’s water supplies and rights, and the condition of their infrastructure. Aspect’s recommendations helped improve the hatchery’s access to a reliable supply of clean, cold water—one of many factors that contribute to healthy juvenile fish and hard-fighting adults at the end of an angler’s line.