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Ideal spawning temperatures are ….

Ideal spawning temperatures are when water temperatures reach 55 degrees, which typically occurs around mid-October. This is also when crews see the most fish, along with better egg quality.

Collecting large, egg-laden females looks promising, as there have been more females caught by anglers this year. Anglers may recall that there were a large number of smaller, mature males caught last season. Much of this has to do with males maturing at an earlier age then females which is typical in most fish species.

“Compared to last year, the salmon caught this summer have been larger, with more females present,” said Headley. “This is due to a big year class that is continuing to grow and mature. Hopefully, we will be able to collect some of these females for our stocking efforts.”

Once the fish are collected, they are transferred to the Fort Peck Multispecies Fish Hatchery. Eggs and milt are then extracted from females and males, respectively, and successfully fertilized offspring will be reared over the winter.

Salmon were first introduced into Ft. Peck Reservoir in 1983. Due to the abundance of their preferred forage fish, cisco, salmon have shown excellent growth, with males maturing in two to four years and females in three to four years. This is the only Chinook fishery in Montana, so anglers travel from near and far in hopes of hooking up with one of these unique fish.

Please be aware of fishery crews and their electrofishing efforts, as they may be near areas where angling activities are taking place. The salmon tend to congregate in areas where they were initially released, and often can become concentrated. If there are any questions concerning the salmon spawning egg-take efforts, please call Headley at 406-526-3471, or email [email protected]

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