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High water could affect upper Rogue trout stocking

What's the latest on the rainbow trout stocking plan for the far upper Rogue River around Union Creek? Are they going to do it or delay it because of all the high water this year?

— Harold H., Medford

The folks at Cole Rivers Hatchery start stocking the far upper Rogue River and some of its tributaries such as Union Creek just before Memorial Day, in time for the start of the summer camping season, and they'll do it again this year, Harold.

But they're not quite sure exactly where.

Spring water flows that are the highest since 2011 and about one-fifth more than last year mean that some of the 14 usual stocking sites might sport water too swift for the trout to stick around for anglers, so those spots might have to be delayed, hatchery Manager Dave Pease says.

"We're starting on schedule, so that means we'll be stocking that Thursday or Friday before Memorial Day," Pease says. "But there may be places we don't stock because of high water."

The idea is to figure out the details closer to Memorial Day based on conditions, Pease says. The area's entire complement of trout is expected to be divvied up among whatever release sites are chosen, so some places may have more fish than normal. However, a decision on that strategy has not been finalized, Pease says.

Plans call for the first week's stocking to include 2,050 legal-sized rainbow trout — all about 8 or 9 inches, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's fish-stocking schedule. The area is set to get 2,075 the following week, then settle into its normal complement of 2,250 trout each week through Labor Day.

The beep-beep-beep of the hatchery truck usually echoes through the Union Creek and Prospect areas on Thursdays, giving the trout time to get their bearings for weekend campers.

— 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 youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.