The public will have a chance next week to witness the annual spectacle of the American River salmon run.
About 10:40 a.m. on Nov. 3, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will open the fish ladder at Nimbus Hatchery on American River. This allows fall-run Chinook salmon migrating upstream from the Pacific Ocean to enter the hatchery, and it also provide an excellent viewing opportunity for the public.
Nimbus Hatchery was built in 1958 as mitigation for the construction of dams that prevented fall-run salmon from accessing their historic spawning habitat upstream. Instead, fish swim into the hatchery, where their eggs are harvested to produce several million salmon each year. The hatchery will collect more than a half-million eggs in the first week alone.
These fish are released to the wild when they are 2 to 4 inches long. They spend three to four years in the ocean before returning upriver to spawn again. Along the way, many are harvested by commercial fishermen to provide salmon for stores and restaurants.
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The hatchery, at 2001 Nimbus Road in Gold River, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes a visitor center and playground. For more information, call (916) 358-2820.
Call The Bee’s Matt Weiser at (916) 321-1264. Follow him on Twitter @matt_weiser.