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State to release Puget Sound steelhead in lakes, not rivers

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steelhead

(Photo: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

SEATTLE (AP) — The state Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to release thousands of hatchery-raised steelhead trout into Washington lakes rather than Puget Sound rivers.

That decision comes after the National Marine Fisheries Service said it wanted a fuller review to ensure hatchery fish don’t harm federally threatened wild Puget Sound steelhead.

In 2014, the state agreed not to release early-winter hatchery steelhead into Puget Sound rivers until the federal agency completed its review.

The department’s Jim Scott says the fish will be planted this June and fall in lakes for tribal and recreational anglers. Likely places include Green Lake in Seattle, Sprague Lake near Spokane, Cranberry Lake in Island County and St. Clair Lake in Thurston.

Nearly 300,000 fish will be kept out of the Dungeness, Nooksack and Stillaguamish rivers.

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