Two hatcheries to be dewatered


February 1, 2024 | View PDF

LEABURG: Changes for the 2024 angling season were keynotes in Jeremy Romer’s presentation at the McKenzie River Guides meeting last Saturday. The largest will be the shutdown of the Leaburg Trout Hatchery and the McKenzie Salmon Hatchery in June, affecting the stocking of area waterways through the rest of the year, according to Romer, the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife’s Assitant District fisheries biologist.

The change came after environmental groups including the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, The Conservation Angler, and Willamette River Keeper successfully challenged permits for the facilities based on the temperatures of the water they release. Warmer water, they contended, would adversely impact important native species including threatened Bull Trout and Spring Chinook salmon.

To comply with new permits, ODFW will transfer fish raised locally to the Willamette Hatchery in Oakridge. That move will require a shift to stocking days to Thursday in area streams. Further complicating the process will be the extended closure of the Finn Rock Boat Landing this year and the need to transfer fish from the trucks to the stocking raft using nets.

In related stocking news, Romer said there’s been some work done on finding a trout stock that is more resistant to cold water diseases than the Cape Cod strain people are used to reeling in. Currently, some testing was started by introducing a West Virginia rainbow trout to some high lakes. They’ll be evaluated for survivability, growth, and “catchability,” he said and encouraged the river guides to weigh in on whether or not the W. Virginia stock would be a good replacement.

The number of returning native Spring Chinook has been a little above the numbers seen over the last decade. That hasn’t been true for hatchery fish and Romer said the reason numbers are done can most likely be tied to the Holiday Farm Wildfire. In 2020, fish raised on the McKenzie had to be released about five months ahead of schedule and didn’t have good survival rates after heading downstream. Despite the disappointing number of returns Fish & Wildlife was able to capture enough fish to just barely meet the numbers needed for broodstock.

While it’s expected returns this year will be up, the impacts of the fire will most likely be noted by the low numbers of five-year-olds that are landed.

Countering that, however, was the surprising arrival of Coho in the left bank fish sorter at Leaburg Dam this year. Though not native to the McKenzie, 50 or more were allowed to migrate upriver. Romer said it’s likely an emergency Coho fishery will be designed in August, giving sport fishers a new opportunity.


Reader Comments(0)


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Mck Mag Logo
Mck Phone Book Logo
Mck Travelers Guide Logo

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024

Rendered 02/26/2024 09:58