Fisheries crews have completed their annual salmon spawning operation on Lake Sakakawea after surpassing their egg goal of 700,000 eggs.

Altogether, crews collected 724,000 eggs from Lake Sakakawea and the Garrison Dam Tailrace. The average size of Lake Sakakawea females was 6 pounds, the same as last year. The Missouri River females averaged 10.5 pounds, 3 pounds larger than last year.

Current plans are to stock 250,000 salmon next spring; 200,000 in Lake Sakakawea and 50,000 in the Missouri River.
Chinook salmon begin their spawning run in October. Since salmon cannot naturally reproduce in North Dakota, state Game and Fish Department and Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery personnel collect eggs and transport them to the hatchery.

Once the eggs hatch, young salmon spend several months in the hatchery before being stocked in Lake Sakakawea and the Missouri River.