Now that the spring chinook salmon have finished their run to Cole Rivers Hatchery for the season, I'd like to know how many Rogue River chinook the hatchery sold this year and much money it got for them? I sent you the exact same question last year, and you eventually got around to answering it, so I am asking you now just after the season is over on the upper Rogue to see if I can shake an answer out of Since You Asked Central faster this year.

— Les A., Central Point


 Wow, Les. You're a tough one. You've got us at SYA doing a little CYA by getting your question answered pronto this year.

Cole Rivers Hatchery so far has captured 7,733 Rogue River spring chinook and sold 2,659 of them to Ocean Beauty Seafoods, which in turn has made hatchery-captured chinook a pretty easy find in local fish markets under various names, some of them even erroneously labeled "wild Rogue" chinook.

These are hatchery-bred fish, and they are not even wild caught, but tasty nonetheless.

The sale of these high-grade fish that are in excess of fish-spawning needs netted the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife $71,037 this year, hatchery records show.

Last year, the agency sold 4,047 excess spring chinook for a net of $79,477. That sale was the highest net on carcass sales since 2004's hefty return to the hatchery led to 7,712 chinook selling for a net profit to the ODFW of $87,205, records show.

The lowest take since 2000 came in 2007, when the sale of just 225 excess fish returned a profit to the ODFW of $3,075, records show.

ODFW profits on the sales go into what the agency calls its "Carcass Fund," which the department uses to pay for hatchery-related expenses, including some of the trucking and releasing of trout in area lakes and ponds, Cole Rivers Manager Dave Pease says.

Since 2000, chinook sales at the hatchery have netted the agency $740,626 for the Carcass Fund, records show.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.