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Steelhead Spa–What’s That?

by Conservation Chair Bob Garbarino

If you are interested in fish-related scientific information, you should check out They have articles on fisheries research, monitoring and conservation. I came across an article on steelhead kelt reconditioning. What the heck is that? First of all…what is a kelt. Not all steelhead die after spawning one time. Some spawn multiple times. Steelhead that return to the ocean or an estuary after spawning are called kelts. During the journey back down the river post-spawn, kelts are challenged by obstacles such as dams that are typically designed to aid juvenile salmonids—not adults. This is the case on the Columbia river. To help the fish survive, the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and the Yakama Nation have been practicing kelt reconditioning. This involves capturing the fish and placing them in holding tanks where they are given medical attention, fed and allowed to rest for several months before release. The fish are also tracked by PIT tags after being released. For more information on this interesting subject, go to the link.