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Reports > 2019 > August > Wednesday 14
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
By Dave Graybill
When I was at the Colville ceremony on Rufus Woods Reservoir, Mike Rayton invited me to go out on the Dream Catcher, the tribe’s purse seiner. The boat’s purpose is to gather brood stock for the tribal hatchery at Bridgeport. I was particularly interested in seeing this boat operate. It could represent a feasible alternative gear to gillnets in the lower Columbia River. The mortality rate the tribe achieves on the release of wild Chinook is the lowest I have ever seen. The immediate mortality rate is less than one percent, which is amazing given the high water temperature at the time the boat operates. I met Mike and the crew at 5 a.m. and I jumped on the tender skiff with Mike. We followed the Dream Catcher to the fishing area and Mike pulled the net from purse seiner. When the net was closed, rather than dump the catch on the deck, the fish are removed by hand, placed in rubber “boots” and transferred to tanks on barges. They go from the aerated tanks on the barges to the hatchery trucks and on to the hatchery for spawning. The minimal handling of the fish is the key to success.