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Fish Ladder Opens At American River Hatchery

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A Chinook salmon at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is releasing water from the bottom of Folsom Lake in an effort to get the river temperature below 60 degrees. 

Laura Drath with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says that's the temperature needed for fall-run chinook to spawn.

"We have water running down the ladder from the hatchery to the river," she says. "And when the salmon feel that current their instinct is to swim up river. So, they'll jump up the steps of the ladder, make their way up the ladder from the river to the hatchery where we can  take bring them inside and start spawning them and collecting those eggs."

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Dixon residents, Sheldon,6, and her mother Miranda visit the fish ladder at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery on Nov. 2, 2015. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The Nimbus Hatchery on the American River will open its fish ladder Monday morning for spawning salmon.

Drath says it's too early to say how many salmon will return to spawn.

"The ocean run was decent this year," she says. "There were some fish out in the ocean that people were catching. But, we haven't seen a great number return to the river yet. If the weather cools off, if we get some rain, we will still see some fish coming up as the season goes on, but we don't have a whole lot to start off with." 

The fishing season for salmon on the American River ended on Halloween.

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Photo shows the first leg of the fish ladder at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

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