The Times 

Palouse Outdoors: Winter Rainbows on Rufus Woods Lake


January 4, 2024

Brad Trumbo

Sean with a wild Columbia River Redband rainbow that he is about to release. Redbands boast richer color and sharper fins and fight noticeably harder than their triploid brethren.

Chief Joseph Dam came online in 1961, producing power through the first 16 of its 27 hydro turbines. Behind the dam is Lake Rufus Woods. Over 8,000 surface acres of the upper Columbia River stretch 51 miles behind Chief Joeseph's massive monoliths until pushing into the tailwater of Grand Coulee Dam.

Each year, the Colville Tribal fish hatchery releases thousands of "triploid" rainbow trout into Rufus Woods. "Triploid" fish are genetically engineered with three chromosomes rather than the usual two, making them reproductively sterile. Sterility gives these fish an advantage in the growth depar...

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