The Rogue River's good, early showing of spring chinook salmon just got better by 345 fish.

The Rogue River's good, early showing of spring chinook salmon just got better by 345 fish.

Cole Rivers Hatchery technicians recycled 345 springers Wednesday from hatchery holding ponds to the Rogue at Gold Hill, giving anglers another shot at catching these prized fish.

It marks the earliest recycling of spring chinook at the hatchery since 2003 and comes a full month earlier than last year, says David Pease, the hatchery's interim manager.

The fish were trucked down to the Gold Hill boat ramp in three loads Wednesday, Pease says.

Hatchery workers occasionally recycle excess hatchery-bred springers into the Rogue.

Others are sold to a Washington seafood company and about 700 are now on hand at Cole Rivers to be given to Oregon Native American tribes to settle treaty requirements.

This year's early run of springers has been the best in recent years, but how good is unknown because the removal of Gold Ray Dam has ended the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's ability to count every salmon or steelhead that migrates into the upper Rogue.

The Rogue Valley's younger outdoors enthusiasts will have a chance to test-drive a variety of outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing, during a free event Saturday at the Denman Wildlife Area.

Sponsored by the Rogue Valley Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and others, Young Oregon Hunters Day will give kids ages 5 to 16 a chance to try sports ranging from trout fishing and tomahawk throwing to shotgun and archery shooting and how to identify animal species by their pelts.

The 11th annual event, often referred to as YOH Day, will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the state-owned wildlife area at 1495 E. Gregory Road in White City.

The event is similar to events the local OHA chapter sponsors before waterfowl and pheasant seasons and occasionally before the start of the spring turkey-hunting season.

Food and beverages will be available, and a free raffle drawing will occur.

Other sponsors include Black Bird Shopping Center, Grange Co-Op, Big R and the Oregon Stewardship project.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or