An aerial view of the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery
In November 2013 a pipeline failure and other related issues led to the suspension of the trout program at Arizona’s Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery. The program was in support of recreational fishing in the Colorado River and Lake Mohave. With the installation of a new floating pump system and the delivery of 51,000 trout from Arizona Game & Fish Department, the program is now back in action.
Project Leader Mark Olson says that he needs more time with the new system before he he can say whether it will be better than the previous system, but the operation should be more efficient.
“It’ll be easier to deal with because we can see everything,” says Olson. “Everything is visible and above water. In our old system, the pipelines were on the bottom of the river and then we had vertical lift pumps. This is a different type of pump and system.”
The hatchery was to begin receiving eggs in October, once the water was cold enough for them. They are then scheduled for an additional 200,000 rainbow trout over the winter months. Going forward, Olson says the next challenge will be addressing the lowering water levels of their source, Lake Mead, and the increase in water temperature which comes with that.