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Sturgeon relocated

Leaburg’s show fish moved

No, it’s not a case of “Where’s Waldo?” but return visitors to the Leaburg Fish Hatchery recently have wondered why they couldn’t seem to find the largest fish in the facility’s show ponds.

That’s because, in anticipation of the dewatering of the ponds later in the season, they’ve been moved, according to Erik Withalm, manager of the Leaburg Hatchery.

Five of the fish have been relocated to a pond at the McKenzie River Discovery Center - just across from the hatchery on the other side of Leaburg Lake. Three of the sturgeon are on loan and will return to the hatchery when it is rewatered and the other two will remain at the Discovery Center.

The remaining sturgeon that had been in the show pond have been stoked out in other areas, Withalm said. Those fish were over-harvest size and the locations where they were released will remain undisclosed to protect them from being targeted or harassed.

Likewise, fishing for the sturgeon, and trout, in the Discovery Center pond is illegal since that is not an allocated or allowed water body and anyone angling there would already be breaking the law, he noted.

Virtually all the trout currently stocked in the area now are fish supplied by the Leaburg Hatchery. “Ultimately, there are no impacts the numbers of fish being stocked or their sizes,” Withalm said.

Later in the season - sometime in May - the supply source will switch to the Willamette Hatchery in Oakridge.

“The Leaburg Hatchery is not closing,” Withalm noted. “It’s just being dewatered for this summer.”


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