Washington Restocks Lake Roosevelt With Nearly Half Million Trout

May 18, 2021

The odds of catching fish in Lake Roosevelt just went up.
Credit Courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

As the Covid crisis starts to recede, more people are returning to normal activities, like fishing. A major fish release at Lake Roosevelt should make that location a great destination soon for anglers.

The releases of thousands of rainbow trout has been a yearly occurrence at Lake Roosevelt since 1985.

The releases are part of mitigation efforts to make up for the loss of migrating fish that were lost with construction of Grand Coulee Dam.

This week, 475,000 8-to-12 inch rainbows will be released from three area hatcheries to various locations on the sprawling waterway.

The Spokane Tribe will also release 10-thousand larger one pound fish into the lower third of the lake.

The released fish are known as triploids. That means they have three sets of chromosomes instead of the normal two, and as a result, are sterile. The idea is to prevent the introduced fish from mating with the existing fish in the lake, says Staci Lehman of the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"Basically you squeeze the female and gets the eggs out and squeeze the male and get the milk out and then, mix them. When we make triploids, it’s a difference in temperature of the water. Making it warmer just changes the chromosomes enough that they are sterile," she said.

The program is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration.