Anglers on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River are being asked to fish for wild fall Chinook salmon later this month to provide breeding stock for the Priest Rapids Hatchery.

The hatchery, operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for the Grant County Public Utility District, is hoping to collect 400 wild fish between Oct. 12 and Oct. 21.

Studies show that Chinook salmon born and raised in a hatchery from parents taken in the wild produce adult fish that return from the ocean at a rate 4.69 times higher than naturally spawned fish.  The offspring of hatchery-raised wild Chinook also produce offspring that return at a higher rate.

The wild fish will be collected alive from anglers at the Vernita boat launch and transported to the Priest Rapids Hatchery, which will spawn more than 3,000 adult Chinook salmon this fall.  Loaner aerators/pumps are available to participating anglers so the fish can be kept alive.

The project is being undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in conjunction with Grant County P.U.D. and the Tri-Cities Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association.

Anglers who want to participate should pre-register with Washington Fish and Wildlife District Biologist Paul Hoffarth by calling him at 509-545-2284 or emailing him at paul.hoffarth@dfw.wa.gov.  Anglers can also register each morning at the Vernita Bridge Boat Launch.

A free informational workshop is being held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11, at O’Callahan’s at the Richland Shilo Inn by the Tri-Cities Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association.

Funding for the project materials and equipment was provided by Washington River Protection Solutions, the Hanford Tank Operations Contractor.  Loaned Equipment for the project was borrowed from the South Columbia Basin Irrigation District, Benton Conservation District and Franklin Conservation District.