The Spokane Tribal Hatchery annually produces kokanee salmon, which is a land-locked form of sockeye salmon, and rainbow trout for release into Lake Roosevelt, Banks Lake and reservation inland lakes. The hatchery was developed and constructed as partial mitigation for the loss of salmon, steelhead and habitat caused by hydroelectric power development on the Columbia River, namely Grand Coulee Dam. Partial mitigation is emphasized because there is no way to compensate the purposed extermination of the salmon the Tribe once utilized for subsistent and cultural purposes. Never the less, the hatchery is a key element of a comprehensive restoration and enhancement program for the Lake Roosevelt and Banks Lake fisheries, the two water bodies/reservoirs created by Grand Coulee Dam. Other components of this program include the Lake Roosevelt Monitoring Program also managed by the Spokane Tribe, the Sherman Creek Hatchery managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Rainbow Habitat Improvement Program managed by the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Lake Roosevelt Net Pen Program managed by the Lake Roosevelt Development Association. Goals and objectives of each project are coordinated between the respective management agencies. Each project receives its funding from the Bonneville Power Administration through direction by the Northwest Power Planning Councils Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program.
The overall goal of the hatchery is to aid in the restoration and enhancement of the Lake Roosevelt fisheries. The primary objective is to produce kokanee salmon and rainbow trout to create and sustain harvestable fisheries in this project area that includes waters within the boundaries of the Spokane Indian Reservation. To accomplish this, the hatchery produces up to 4.3 million kokanee salmon and 750,000 rainbow trout annually for release. The fish are released after the reservoir draw down period, approximately mid-May to June, to help alleviate the loss of fish by entrainment (flushing) through Grand Coulee Dam. Additionally, the hatchery raises up to 10,000 rainbow trout and 2,000 kokanee salmon, all catchable size, for reservation inland lakes. This includes 200 – 300 lunkers (up to 10 lbs ea.) raised for the spring and fall fishing derbies on McCoys and Turtle Lakes. A note on the fish released into the Reservation Lakes: at this time our lakes are managed as “put and take” fisheries so we want you to catch and keep 100% of them. The reason for this is adverse productivity factors such as low oxygen that limit the ability for the lakes to produce large numbers of large fish, as well as naturally producing populations. Enhancement measures such as oxygenation at Turtle Lake (the rock) and re-connection of creek to McCoys Lake are underway.