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South Dakota GF&P Completes 2020 Salmon Spawning Operations

14lb Chinook Salmon
14lb Chinook Salmon Caught by Andrew CoverdaleLake Oahe, August 2020

South Dakota Game Fish and Parks recently finished collecting 900,000 salmon eggs at Lake Oahe ending this year’s spawning operations.

Bob Hanten is a fisheries biologist for Game Fish and Parks. Hanten says they gather the eggs to replenish the lake’s salmon stock every year. He says there is enough food and cold water for the fish to live in the Missouri River but they need help to spawn.

“These are wild-strain Fall Chinook Salmon but they are all raised in a hatchery, or spend the early part of their life in a hatchery. We don’t have natural reproduction of Chinook Salmon in Lake Oahe, so if we don’t collect the eggs and hatch them at the hatchery, and bring them back and stock them in Lake Oahe, we wouldn’t have any salmon in the future.”

Hanten says they expect around a third of their eggs to successfully hatch for next year’s salmon season. He says more people were fishing the lake this year than any year in the past decade.

-Contact SDPB’s David Scottby email.