Douglas County PUD has worked with state, federal and tribal fisheries interests for over thirty years to help maintain healthy runs of salmon and steelhead. The PUD funded the construction and continues to fund the operation of the Wells Fish Hatchery, located at the west end of Wells Dam and the new Methow Spring Chinook Hatchery located near Winthrop Washington. The Wells Fish Hatchery spawns and rears summer chinook and summer steelhead. The summer chinook are incubated and raised for over a year before release into the Columbia River. Around 800,000 summer chinook are released annually from the Wells Hatchery. 480,000 summer steelhead are also incubated and raised over a year before release into the Columbia. These fish are transported to and released into the Methow and Okanogan Rivers. Steelhead are of particular interest due to their recent listing under the Endangered Species Act. While the numbers of steelhead at dams have remained fairly stable, the proportion of naturally produced steelhead has decreased. As measures are taken to aid natural population recovery, fish from the Wells Hatchery will serve as a source of needed fish to bolster those efforts. The Methow Fish Hatchery was built to aid wild populations in the Methow, Twisp and Chewuch Rivers. The hatchery has satellite ponds on the Twisp and Chewuch Rivers for acclimation of juvenile spring chinook. The District also funds an experimental hatchery program using Okanogan sockeye. The combined releases of all these programs is in excess of two million juvenile salmon and steelhead annually.
In conjunction with the operations of the District’s Wells Hydroelectric Project, the District owns the shoreline surrounding Lake Pateros, between the Wells Dam and Chief Joseph Dam. Although these lands are open for public access, the District’s Land Use Policy permits certain private activities on these lands. If you own property adjacent to these shorelands and wish more information on permitted uses, please contact the District’s Land Department.
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