Another strong showing of fresh Rogue River spring chinook salmon to Cole Rivers Hatchery has hatchery technicians hopping and river anglers happy.
A good push of fish meant that hatchery workers Tuesday were able to recycle 1,000 adult springers from the hatchery's collection ponds back downstream for release into the Rogue at Gold Hill.
That brings to 1,401 the number of springers released in the popular recycle program meant to get more hatchery fish into anglers' hands.
The fish, which are all fin-clipped, hatchery-bred chinook, have a small hole punched in their left gillplate to denote their recycled status.
Under hatchery protocols, crews can release up to 4,000 springers per season, with no releases after July 1 to ensure that fewer hatchery fish stray onto the Rogue's gravel beds to spawn with wild fish.
"Hopefully, we'll get up around 4,000 before it's over," says Dave Pease, the hatchery's interim manager.
Last year, hatchery workers were able to recycle just 493 spring chinook, while 2,163 chinook were recycled in 2010. The last time Cole Rivers workers got into the 4,000-fish stratosphere was in 2004, when 4,068 springers were recycled, Pease says.
So far this season, 2,988 springers have reached the hatchery collection pond, Pease says.
Big springers aren't the only thing getting trucked and released around Jackson and Josephine counties this week.
Cole Rivers Hatchery workers this week stocked fresh rainbow trout in seven waterways in preparation for Saturday's Free Fishing Day events.
Expo Pond, Selmac Lake near Selma and Howard Prairie Lake in southeast Jackson County each received 2,000 legal-sized rainbows. Hyatt Lake was infused with 1,580 rainbows and Medco Pond received 1,600 legals.
The largest single stocking went to Jackson County's largest water body. Lost Creek Lake received 7,624 legal-sized rainbows this week. The Upper Rogue waters upstream of Lost Creek Lake also received its weekly complement of 2,250 legal-sized fish.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.