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Kelt program aims to rehabilitate repeat steelhead spawners

ILLIA, Washington (AP) — The Nez Perce Tribe and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission released 37 wild steelhead into the Snake River below Lower Granite Dam this week in hopes of boosting the number of spawning steelhead.

The Lewiston Tribune reports the fish, known as kelts, were previously captured at the dam as they tried to return to the ocean after spawning in their natal streams. They were held for one or two years at the Dworshak National Fish Hatchery to allow them to regain strength, and they were released Tuesday, ready to spawn once again.

Steelhead are unique among anadromous fish — fish that migrate from the sea to reproduce — in that they don’t necessarily die after spawning. Still, it’s rare for female steelhead to make it as far as the Lower Granite Dam to spawn an second time.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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