Northwest Fisheries Enhancement – NWFE

Hatcheries Success: Are Your Hatcheries Successful?

Are your Hatcheries successful, to often this question is overlooked or not asked- the HSRG ( Hatchery Science Research Group) published reports to US Congress in 2004, 2009 and 2014, that say make your Hatcheries Successful!

Hatcheries should be judged on Adult Returns not numbers produced and how they can compliment and improve wild fish Adult returns in conservation roles.

The basic judge is SARs- (Smolts to Adult Returns) – it’s a basic formula- the number of fish escapement back to the hatchery plus harvest within the terminal fishery (recreational & commercial) divided by the number of fish released by a hatchery by type.

Hatcheries have to often been judged solely on production numbers, many times I’ve met with hatchery staff, when I ask what are your Adult Return Goals, we don’t have any but we produce XXX amount of fish.

HSRG says this is like judging a farmer on how many seeds they planted rather than the crop produced!

I’m not sure why this question is not asked- there are some exceptions, in recent conversations and letters to WDFW Commissioners I ask them to ask- are our hatcheries successful – I’ve not heard them ask yet or WDFW report on SARs – From the SARs I’ve done- especially for fall Chinook programs they are terribly unsuccessful, some Coho programs have been superior, but still few ask.

If your a fisherman you need to ask, are our hatcheries successful!

We are dependent on Hatcheries success!


Larry Pryor,

Chairman NWFE

HSRG report to US Congress, 2004, 2009, 2015 (Previously

Page 8: Executive Summary: Maximize Survival of Hatchery Fish Consistent with Conservation Goals In order for hatchery programs to effectively contribute to harvest and/or conservation, the reproductive success and survival of hatchery releases must be high relative to those of naturally spawning populations.  The primary performance measurement for hatchery programs should be the total number of adults produced (harvest plus escapement) per adult spawned at the hatchery.  This also allows for the fewest number of hatchery fish to be released to achieve the stated goals of the program, thereby minimizing ecological interactions. All too often in the past, hatcheries have been evaluated based on the number of smolts released.

Page 22: Recommendation 13:  Maximize survival of hatchery fish consistent with conservation goals Maximizing the survival of hatchery fish enables conservation programs to accelerate their rebuilding efforts.  It allows production hatcheries to reduce their ecological impacts on natural populations.  Conservation hatcheries producing juveniles with high survival generate more spawners on the spawning grounds.  This, in turn, accelerates the rate at which recovery programs move toward meeting their goals.  Production programs may have to reduce release numbers to decrease negative ecological impacts on natural populations.  Increasing post-release survival can offset this reduction and enable managers to meet their harvest goals. There are many approaches to increasing fish survival.  Releasing fish at the appropriate time, size, age and location can significantly increase their recruitment to fisheries and natural escapement.  Releasing rapidly migrating smolts rather than fry increases survival and reduces negative ecological interactions in the freshwater environment.  Similarly, releasing healthy fish produces more fish for harvest and less opportunity to spread disease to natural populations.  Improving water quality and reducing loading and density during rearing are also proven tools used by fish culturists to enhance fish survival.  Adoption of volitional release (allowing smolts to outmigrate when they are ready, rather than “forcing” them out at a preset date) with removal of residuals (fish that do not outmigrate) may increase the long-term survival of released fish, while decreasing negative ecological interactions with natural populations.  Proper acclimation and imprinting of hatchery juveniles can reduce straying and enhance survival to the desired location for their harvest or artificial spawning. 

Developing and adopting these and other culture and release practices that maximize fish survival and minimize negative ecological interactions by reducing production release numbers, can aid conservation programs in rebuilding runs and reducing the conflict between harvest programs and conservation goals for natural populations.

NWFE Airlift Water Pump systems -FloNergia

Airlift water pumps are relatively new to aquaculture, FloNergia airlift pumps are what NWFE has chosen for a number of our projects and customers systems.

Designed specifically for aquaculture and hydroponic systems, this patented technology  improves water quality by disrupting thermal stratification, improving oxygenation, stripping carbon dioxide, and assisting in the recovery of solid waste.

  • Reduces production costs
    • Uses 50-70% less energy than typical pump systems
  • Improves water quality
    • Disrupts thermal stratification
    • Improves oxygenation
    • Strips carbon dioxide
    • Assists in the recovery of solid waste
  • 10% higher productivity
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Low maintenance
    • No moving parts
    • No lubrication needed
  • Lower noise/vibration than centrifugal pumps
  • Suitable for rural areas or offshore facilities where access to energy is challenging news; click link for full story

Northwest Fisheries Enhancement Helps Save over 400,000 Rainbow Trout During COVID-19

Recently Northwest Fisheries Enhancement Saved over 400,000 Rainbow Trout from Regulators During a Downturn in Markets from COVID-19

YAKIMA, WA, April 28, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — In a collaborative effort between Cooke Aquaculture Pacific, Northwest Fisheries Enhancement- (NWFE), Tacoma Power and Washington Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) saved 400,000 + Rainbow Trout from going to the dump to going to recreational fishermen in Riffe Lake.

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Cooke Aquaculture Pacific at their Skatter Creek Hatchery had raised 400,000+ Rainbow Trout. Cooke had permitting approval from WDFW until another department- Washington Department of Ecology had them postpone, re-permit and that process would add another six to nine months and still tentative. The Trout were to go to Cooke’s net pens for grow out in their Puget Sound net pens, replacing Atlantic Salmon previously grown. Now what to do with 400,000+ rainbow trout, this was the third time and batch of which they had to destroy two others.

NWFE chairman Larry Pryor discovered from Jim Parsons, GM at Cooke Aquaculture Pacific that in a matter of days they were going to have to destroy these fish. Cooke had tried to find any interested groups but no luck. NWFE reached out to groups throughout the Northwest from Utilities, Tribal, State and Federal agencies that might have a need for fishermen. Larry Pryor soon learned that Tacoma Power had a place in Riffe Lake for the fish. Cooke Aquaculture corporate gave the go ahead to hold them for another week to see if NWFE could find a home for them. By doing so Northwest Fisheries Enhancement saved 400,000 rainbow trout from literally being destroyed.

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Tacoma Power’s Natural Resources manager Keith Underwood and Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery complex manager Eric Shoblum and other staff got to work and with WDFW cooperation and got the transport permits expedited, WDFW sent pathologist to Skatter Creek hatchery and worked over a weekend to inspect the fish health, ok them for planting. Cooke staff never had a doubt in the fish health, they work with Aquatactics Dr. Hugh Mitchell and these are some of the nicest rainbow trout you’ll find, a Rufus Woods stock of Triploids.

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Cooke Aquaculture Pacific staff directed by Doug Simms, freshwater production manager and other Skatter Creek personnel delivered and did the plantings in Riffe Lake at sites above the dam and at the top of the lake near the Kosmos area, The plantings were challenging with the water down easily over 100′ from top of the bank now, long 12″ hoses were ran down to the water. Jim Parsons the GM of Cooke Pacific was at the plantings himself managing the pipe at lakeside with the fish rushing out into the lake!

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Larry Pryor of NWFE said “This turned into other opportunities now and Cooke Aquaculture Pacific will be growing more Rainbows for NWFE stocking and planting needs throughout the Northwest for other Recreational Fishermen! These are nice fish, better than what I’ve seen from other suppliers and with the Recirculating Aquaculture System capabilities of Skatter Creek and trout grow-out strategies are what we like to see and can grow to quality release sizes much quicker than others for trophy rainbow trout plantings!”

NWFE would like to add that the Tacoma Power (TP) Natural Resources group really worked hard to make this happen for Riffe Fishermen. From Keith Underwood, TP Natural Resources manager, Eric Shoblum Cowlitz Salmon hatchery complex manager who got the permitting expedited with WDFW, scouted planting sites with Cooke staff, he and his staff from Cowlitz Falls fish collection facility: Chris Foster and others were at the plantings assisting, at one point they had to get someone out from TP lands to inspect the release sites. you would think fish plantings should be easier but in today’s world are much more detailed, TP folks were hard at it to help make these plantings happen!

400,000 Triploid Rainbow going into Riffe Lake

400,000 Triploid Rainbow Trout planting into Riffe Lake

NWFE assisted Cooke Aquaculture Pacific and Tacoma Power in planting these quality 400,000+ Triploid Rainbow Trout.

Cooke Pacific had raised these fish in their modern Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) hatchery, they were bound for net pens to be grown for commercial table food but are now in Riffe Lake for fishermen to catch and put on their table!

Cooke Pacific due to regulatory permitting delays had these high quality- Rufus Woods stock triploid rainbows grown when notified of another delay and a dilemma of what now to do with them. NWFE assisted Cooke, we notified many groups in the Northwest who may have a stocking needs for their fishermen.

NWFE has a long history with Tacoma Power and PacifiCorp on several projects and offered these to them, logistically Tacoma Power and their Riffe lake project really worked nicely. Cooke transported and their going into the lake now. Cooke Aquaculture Pacific had over $500,000 invested in these fish, this is a great gesture on their part.

Fisherman on Riffe Lake will have a great opportunity now, these are at catch-able 6″ length now, but Triploids grow fast and should be trophy catches very soon. These 400,000 Rainbows are from the same stock as Rufus Woods fish and are sure to grow fast, catches of over five or more pounds will be seen soon. There will be some happy fisherman on Riffe Lake soon thanks to the commitment of Cooke Aquaculture Pacific, Tacoma Power and NWFE!

Jim Parsons – G.M. at Cooke Aquaculture Pacific handling the stocking tube himself, and all day. All the Cooke Aquaculture people were Great in these plantings, From Doug the production manager, staff and truck drivers at the Cooke Skatter Creek Hatchery to Corporate Cooke offices. Everyone that will fish Riffe lake should thank them, we do from NWFE!

NWFE offering Rainbow Trout for Stocking

NWFE has available Triploid and Diploid Rainbow Trout.

Triploid (sterile) Rainbow Trout or Diploid (non sterile)

Riverence or Trout Lodge Triploid eggs, reared in RAS system.

Triploid Rainbow-

These are the same stock as the Rufus Woods Triploids.  Rufus Woods Stock is well known as growing into trophy fish quickly, a look at the pictures attached show how nice and plump they already are!! These have been raised in a sophisticated Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) facility and NWFE partner, with RAS tanks on well water, the system and growth strategies can and have been managed with hyperoxygenation, water temperature and quality, feed management strategies, quality fish health standards and by Best Aquaculture Practices and Standards of the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GPA).

undefinedThese are Riverence or Troutlodge triploid egg stock.


Further they can be vaccinated against furunculosis and infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus by Aquatactics to ensure better survival on release. All fish can be certified for absence of whirling disease and fish health if required. We can AD clip if needed too.

This batch was at 50 grams-  16+ cm/ 5-6″ sizes-  quality fishing release sizes will be reached in 3 weeks. They were released into Riffe Lake at just over 8″.   We can grow them quickly in the RAS system, to your release size needs and further to 1 or 2 pounds on request.  Flexible deliverable time frames with larger sizes a bit later.

50 Grams, 16+CM 6″+

Triploids will continue to grow faster after release, growth timing and estimates can be made with more information on release sites/ water- triploids grow to trophy sizes quickly.

They may be purchased in reasonable batches. Triploids or Diploids

Request a quote 

Any stocking permits are the responsibility of buyer.

Transportation cost to be quoted on order, NWFE options are bulk delivery within 12 hours of Yakima WA.

These are a very high-quality Triploid Rainbow Trout, food grade and great for your fishermen.

Transportation of up to 12 hours road time frame is easily done by NWFE and partners experienced fish transport trailers, and trucks. Oxygenated and supported – able to meet most delivery needs in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. If delivery needed to various sites NWFE can develop and quote delivery strategies and cost to fit your needs. For example, from bulk transport to our 600 gallon one ton site delivery services.

Further announcement will be released shortly. If your concerns or others about challenging previous supplier with a one time buy, we’ll be able to service your needs for years now and with a high quality fish for your fisherman–  and catches they’ll Bragg about to others.

This offer is just now presented from circumstances. NWFE is submitting to many interested groups. I thought I’d shoot it to you first knowing some of your needs. These are really nice fish!  More to come!!

If questions, please feel free to call or email.



NWFE is also now announcing- and offering capabilities to offer High -Quality  Rainbow Trout – Triploid or Diploid for your stocking needs.

Improve your image, your fishermen will be Bragging about catching these High Quality Rainbow Trout.

With this same type of quality fish/ rainbow trout, year after year.

Through a collaborative NWFE program with International Commercial Aquaculture companies, NWFE now utilizes shared sophisticated RAS rearing facility for your future needs, collaborating with the top Aquaculture companies in the US and Internationally to provide you and your fishermen with the highest quality catchable Rainbow Trout.

Bringing together stock enhancement and commercial expertise for your fish stocking needs and Hatchery management needs.

NWFE Hatchery and Operations management of Stock Enhancement Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery Management utilize these resources for best and better management options for your needs!

Transportation of up to 12 hours road time frame is easily done by NWFE and partners experienced transport trailers, oxygenated and supported – able to meet most delivery needs in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. If delivery needed to various sites NWFE can develop and quote delivery strategies and cost to fit your needs. For example, from bulk transport to our 600 gallon one ton site delivery services.

Further announcement will be released shortly. If your concerns or others about challenging previous supplier with a one time buy, we’ll be able to service your needs for years now and with a high quality fish for your fisherman–  and catches they’ll Bragg about to others.

This offer is just now presented from circumstances. NWFE will be submitting to many interested groups. I thought I’d shoot it to you first knowing some of your needs.   These are really nice fish!  More to come though.

NWFE is collaborating with the top Aquaculture companies in the US and Internationally to provide you and your fishermen with the highest quality catcahable Rainbow Trout,

Riverence, Trout Lodge, Spring Salmon Companies, Cooke Aquaculture. Bringing together stock enhancement and commercial expertise for your fish stocking, fishermen and Hatchery management needs

If questions, please feel free to call or email.


509 292 6410 xt 1,

NWFE / PacifiCorp Lewis River project: A & R.

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PacifiCorp contracted NWFE for Hatcheries Assessment with recommendations for their Lewis River Facilities; the Lewis Salmon Hatchery, Merwin Steelhead and Trout Hatchery and their Speelyai Hatchery. 

NWFE put together onsite visits and assessments by  seasoned fisheries people in Hatchery Operations & Management, Design, Fish Health, Broodstock, Incubation, Hatch, rearing and more.


Megan Sorby Msc , Tom Sorby Msc, Sean Nepper Bsc, Jeff Hudson, Chris Vandenberg J.D., Dr Hugh Mitchell MS, DVM and Larry Pryor. 


Plans, SA/ Settlement Agreement, documents, hatchery operations reports, HSRG, HGMPs, history, SARs / Smolt to Adult Returns and Columbia River SARs comparisons, modern products and practices were reviewed within the assessments and recommendations.  NWFE B.D.s, A.B.s, Staff, seasoned Fisheries, Business, finance, public personnel and fisheries enhancement executives, assessed/ reviewed and provided detailed recommendations to strengthen PacifiCorp’s Lewis River Hatchery programs.

NWFE is building to contract for existing hatchery operations and management and to build following the proven Alaska Model here in the Northwest.

This article published in the SeattleTimes 8/14/2019 supports our Direction.

Alaska’s nonprofit hatcheries give us hope for Washington’s salmon runs

Imagine living in a state where the sea is overflowing with salmon, ensuring there are more than enough fish and wildlife to survive and thrive in the Northwest.

A state where salmon reproduction is self-sustaining to such a level that it grows the economy, protects taxpayers and revitalizes the environment.

We visited that state recently. It’s our neighbor to the north, Alaska.

In the early 1970s, salmon runs in Alaska were very low, jeopardizing the state’s commercial and recreational fishing industries. Leaders did an in-depth look at what worked and what did not work in Canada, Oregon and Washington. One of the strategies they adopted was to create salmon-enhancement projects. The most successful of those launched numerous nonprofit fish hatcheries, built through a public-private partnership with $100 million in no-interest public loans.

We toured one of those hatcheries — the DIPAC hatchery in Juneau, which produces 137 million fish every year. What we saw painted a picture of possibilities that could exist for Washington.

The survival rate of salmon to adulthood in Alaska — of both native and hatchery fish — is 1 to 10% depending on the year. Assuming a conservative 1% survival means 1.37 million DIPAC salmon return to their homes. The DIPAC hatchery covers all operating costs by selling 30% of each year’s returning fish. That means the remainder — a whopping 950,000 fish — are available annually for commercial, sport and tribal uses. They also are available to killer whales, eagles, bears and all salmon-consuming denizens of Alaska. Those are extra salmon available on top of the natural populations, and this isn’t the only such hatchery.

Those numbers got our attention, as did the fact that Alaska taxpayers haven’t paid for this hatchery since the startup loans were paid off several years ago. There are 29 hatcheries in Alaska. One is tribal. One is federal. Only two are state-run. Twenty-five of the 29 are these incredibly successful nonprofit operations.

Another impressive achievement of the Alaska model: They strive to augment wild stocks — not compete with them. Scientific assessments are made to find freshwater streams pouring into saltwater that  do not have native salmon populations. Remote plants are made at these locations. This ensures that these hatchery fish do not compete with native salmon streams.

The DIPAC hatchery has excellent relations with its Native American neighbors and functions as an outstanding learning center for visiting school kids and surrounding communities. It also serves as a center of tourism in town and generates tax dollars for the public good from visiting tourists from around the world.

A recent Times Op-Ed [“Restoring salmon runs, not politics, will save southern resident killer whales,” July 16, Opinion] criticized hatchery fish as an unsatisfactory food source for orcas and recommended changes be made in other areas. We think that the state, tribes and all who fish can work on this project to take the pressure off the wild stocks that might be favored by orcas.


While we don’t anticipate that Alaska’s hatchery model can be replicated quickly in Washington, we saw that it can be done. This is why we recommend a pilot project to be developed by our state Legislature. Nearly 50 years of sustainable excellence in Alaska shows us how to make nonprofit hatcheries work for Washington.

Government is capable of doing big things when properly motivated and effectively led, and Washington’s private sector certainly has a solid track record when it comes to innovation and production. If the core problem is a lack of fish — well, Alaska did something about that, and so can we, not only for the benefit of the orcas but all others who rely on a robust salmon fishery. Let’s start by learning from our friends to the north.