I went to the Strawberry Reservoir Kokanee Festival today. Its a really amazing experience. You get to see the salmon spawn up the river in the hundreds. The festival was at the Strawberry Reservoir visitor center just off the Strawberry Marina exit near highway 40. You park near the road where the river crosses and within a 1 minute walk you can see the Kokanee swimming up the river. From here there is a board walk that leads up to the milking stations. This is a very short walk.
After they swim up the river the fish get caught in the milking station traps. From here the DNR biologists separate the fish by male and female. The biologists then kill the salmon and let them bleed out. The salmon die when spawning naturually anyway so don’t get hung up on this part. After most the blood is gone the DNR squeezes out all the eggs. The success rate on the eggs grown in the lab is over 90%. The pic below is one of the tanks where the fish are separated.
After the male and female fish are separated they are put into separate cement containers called raceways. The DNR uses the male salmon to fertilize the eggs of the female kokanee. You can see one of the raceways below.
They had several biologists on hand answering questions and letting the public hold fish. Below you can see the separate raceways.
The biologists said the average age of the kokanee is 3 to 4 years. From the eggs produced at this station the DNR is able to stock over 10 lakes with Kokanee.