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Salmon spawn completed

Fisheries crews completed their annual salmon spawning operation on the Missouri River System, collecting more than 2.2 million eggs.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department Missouri River System supervisor Dave Fryda said crews collected enough eggs to stock the 500,000 smolts planned for Lake Sakakawea in 2019.

“Salmon were very abundant throughout the run, resulting in one of the highest collection of eggs in the history of the salmon program,” Fryda said. “After Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery was filled to capacity, crews were able to collect an additional 387,000 excess eggs that were provided to Montana.”

The majority of eggs were collected from Lake Sakakawea, with help from the Missouri River below Garrison Dam. Average size of Lake Sakakawea female salmon was 6 pounds. Fryda said, once again, there was an abundance of young male salmon, which typically forecasts a good run the next couple years.

Chinook salmon begin their spawning run in October. Since salmon cannot naturally reproduce in North Dakota, Game and Fish Department and Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery personnel collect eggs and transport them to the hatchery.

Once the eggs hatch, young salmon spend several months in the hatchery before being stocked in Lake Sakakawea.

-- North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Care for wild game meat

The most succulent wild game can be destroyed by improper handling in the field or improper cooking at home. The handling of meat can make a major difference in flavor and safety. 

Game animals lead active lives. As a result, their muscles are relatively lean. This makes game meat drier than domestic meat. For this reason, it is important to use cooking methods that add juiciness and flavor to the drier cuts of game meat. Game meat is generally cooked the same way as a similar cut of lean beef or poultry.

Despite wild game being drier, one of the first steps in cooking wild game is to trim away fat before cooking. Wild game fat tends to become rancid quickly and hold flavors contributing to "gamey" flavor. In addition, game fat tends to be very solid giving a "greasy" feeling in the mouth.

Replace that game fat with other fats to keep game meat from becoming too dry. Rub a roast with salt pork, butter, margarine, beef suet, bacon fat, vegetable fat, sweet or sour cream to add moisture, richness and flavor or baste very lean cuts with additional fat to improve flavor.

 Roast or braise in a slow oven preheated to 325 to 350 degrees for about 25 minutes per pound of boneless meat. Roasting at oven temperatures exceeding 375 degrees will result in toughening of wild game. With those low temperatures, use a meat thermometer to be sure meat is done.

-- Burleigh County Extension

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