Rapid River Hatchery was constructed in 1964 and is operated by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. All funding for this project is supplied by Idaho Power Company. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires Idaho Power Company to mitigate for the loss of fish runs due to the construction of Oxbow, Brownlee, and Hells Canyon Dams. These dams were built without fish passage facilities and eliminated the runs of steelhead and salmon up the Snake River and it's tributaries. Idaho Power Company provided funds to build Rapid River Hatchery and transplant part of the salmon run here to mitigate for the lost fish runs. In addition to this hatchery IPC also provides funding for Niagara Springs, Oxbow, and Pahsimeroi Fish Hatcheries as part of their steelhead and salmon mitigation programs.
Idaho Power Company is required to provide facilities capable of producing and releasing three million spring chinook smolts annually at this hatchery. The majority of these fish are released directly into Rapid River. In most years between one hundred thousand and a million fish are transported to the Snake River and released below Hells Canyon Dam to mitigate for lost runs to streams in Oregon. The power company has also constructed a facility at Hells Canyon for trapping adult steelhead and salmon from the Snake River. Salmon from the Hells Canyon Trap are transported to Rapid River Hatchery for spawning and rearing.
Adult salmon arrive at the Rapid River Trap (located about two miles downstream from the hatchery) from early May through August. The fish arriving through mid-July are classified as spring-chinook and later arrivals are designated summer-chinook if they are not marked. These summer-chinook are released back into Rapid River to maintain a naturally reproducing population above the hatchery.
*Information courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game
SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES AT RAPID RIVER HATCHERY
Trap adult spring chinook
Incubate chinook eggs
Early rearing in raceways
Final rearing in ponds
Release chinook smolts
May to August
Late Aug. to early Sep.
Jan. and Feb. / late August to Dec.
Jan. to mid April / July to Dec.
Mid March to mid April
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