Six adult spring salmon were released June 8, 2012, above Round Butte dam, making history as the first fish in more than 45 years to be transported back to the upper Deschutes Basin after completing their round-trip migration to the Pacific Ocean.
The fish were planted above Round Butte and, as juveniles, migrated through the reservoir and were swept into the fish collection facility, which began operating in December 2009. The fish are sorted and transported downstream to the free-flowing Deschutes River. Upon returning from the Pacific, the fish were identified by a clipped right maxillary bone near the jaw, and released into Billy Chinook to proceed upstream to spawn.
Representatives from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs and PGE celebrated the milestone at Lake Billy Chinook, where irrigators, fish advocates and land conservation organizations marked the “first fish” event and heard a blessing by the tribes.
Last year, about 19,000 Chinook, steelhead and sockeye (yearling kokanee) smolts migrated through the fish collection facility. See News for details.