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Jumping Fish; Nimbus Hatchery Ladder Opens

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Call it the circle of life or nature running its course, but dozens of people came to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery to watch hundreds of salmon swim upstream.

Hatchery manager Gary Novak explained they open the ladder every year in November, “Something triggers (the fish) and says it’s time to go.”

The ladders were created to help the salmon swim upstream after dams were set up along the river and blocked the natural path of the fish.

Over the next few month Novak said a lot of salmon will climb the ladder, “We’ll get about 4-5,000 salmon up the ladder every year.”

Hundreds of Chinook salmon swim up the ladder at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery as dozens of people look on.

Novak said those few thousand can turn in to four million fish. “When (the fish) get about 6 months old they migrate out to the ocean, be in the ocean 2-5 years, then come back up the ladder,” he explained, “Start the cycle all over again.”

The ladder opening is quite sight and a learning experience, and people of all ages came to the hatchery to watch.

Mom Leah Cromwell said she came for the experience, “I’ve never been out here before when they open up the gates.”

As for little Morgan Maye she said her reason for being there, “To see the fish!”

Then there was father of two Steven Fisher who wanted his kids to learn about salmon, “It’s their first time here. See a few fish then go home and take a nap.”

While they’re napping the fish will just keep swimming. “Looks like a great season, lots of fish in the river,” said Novak.

The observation deck for the fish ladder is free and open to the public.

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