Kyle Clayton / Petersburg Pilot
Crystal Lake Hatchery staff installed a net pen at the mouth of City Creek where 200,000 Chinook salmon will be transferred to in the following week. Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Production Manager Bill Gass said the 40 x 40 square foot aluminum pen is surrounded by a special net designed to keep predators from eating the salmon, however he's not so sure it will ward off sea lions. "We have not had projects in the heart of large sea lion populations," Gass said. "They're very large and very unpredictable. If a 2000-pound stellar sea lion wants to rip the net down I think he's going to rip the net down." During the five to six weeks the fish stay in the pen, they will double in size and imprint the fresh water flowing from City Creek where they will eventually return to spawn.