Northern California Hatcheries, USFWS


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Northern California Hatcheries

Coleman was established in 1942 to mitigate the loss of natural salmon to historic spawning areas due to the construction of the Shasta and Keswick dams. The Livingston Stone subunit was added in 1997. The hatcheries produce chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

Partnership with state-run Nimbus Hatchery helps correct wayward 2017 fall-run Chinook salmon that strayed off course when they returned to spawn

Collecting salmon eggs at Nimbus, Steve Martarano USFWS
Service biologist Marc Provencher pours salmon eggs into a waiting bucket.
Steve Martarano USFWS

About 8 million of the 12 million Chinook salmon that were released in 2014 strayed off course when they returned to freshwater to spawn. Anticipating a similar event this year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Nimbus Hatchery, located near Sacramento on the American River, opened its fish ladder early on Oct. 9 to accommodate the arrival of more straying fish..

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Service Fish Hatcheries Helping Endangered California Salmon in Innovative Ways

Salmon Transfer Release, Steve Martarano USFWS
A waiting USFWS tanker truck receives a load of Chinook salmon before transport to Livingston Stone Hatchery
Steve Martarano USFWS)

The elevator ride for about two dozen late-fall Chinook salmon ends with a whoosh of water as the fish, all between 15 and 25 pounds, are lifted into a waiting Coleman National Fish Hatchery tanker truck. The weekly exercise takes place at Keswick Dam, about two miles northwest of Redding on the Sacramento River. This collection of winter-run adults for a crucial broodstock program is just one of several ways the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's hatchery complex is assisting virtually every run of one of California's most prized resources – Chinook salmon.

Read this feature story page to learn what the Service's Northern California hatcheries are doing to protect salmon

Salmon Trucking and Release

As a result of very poor conditions that occurred in late March and mid-April of 2014 in the lower Sacramento River and Delta, decisions were made to release approximately 7.3 million fall Chinook (61% of total production at Coleman National Fish Hatchery) at the west Delta. As a result of improved conditions in early April, an additional 4.5 million Chinook were released into Battle Creek at the hatchery.

Salmon Transfer Release, Steve Martarano USFWS
Salmon Trucking & Release, Steve Martarano USFWS)

In 2015, for the second year in a row, the Coleman hatchery began trucking approximately 12 million Chinook salmon smolts releasing them near the ocean, carrying out details of a special 2015 drought contingency plan. The Chinook smolts, 3 inches in length, had been raised at the hatchery in Anderson, California, as part of the federal hatchery's role in partially mitigating for Shasta and Keswick dams on the upper Sacramento River.