Clogged intake pipe kills 400,000 spring Chinook pre-smolts at Rock Creek Hatchery

Clogged intake pipe kills 400,000 spring Chinook pre-smolts at Rock Creek Hatchery June 29, 2015 ROSEBURG, Ore – A fish carcass clogged an intake pipe at Rock Creek Hatchery, shutting off the flow of water to a raceway, killing 400,000 spring Chinook pre-smolts. These fish were to be released directly from the hatchery into the North Umpqua River next spring. Dan Meyer, Rock Creek Hatchery manager said the water flow didn’t drop low enough to trigger an alarm. An alert employee discovered the problem within an hour but with the water temperature in the raceway at about 68 degrees and no fresh water coming in, it was too late to salvage any live fish. “We have a new intake and a new emergency valve we can open. If power to the screens is out, water to the hatchery is severed, and the emergency valve will get water to fish. It was opened for short time during a power outage a few months ago when the emergency generator failed, and we think the carcass may have gotten into the water line then,” Meyer explained. The hatchery spring Chinook provide a popular fishery in the Umpqua and North Umpqua rivers with 4,000 to 6,000 returning each year. These fish return as three to five-year old adults, with the majority returning as four-year-olds. Anglers will see the impact predominately in the 2018 returns and to some degree 2017 and 2019 as well. ODFW fish staff are looking at possible options for this fishery and will keep the public informed. Hatchery staff are refining the new alarm system testing and protocol. ### Contact:...
Sturgeon Season

Sturgeon Season

Several major changes the last two years have changed the fishery in a positive way: The lower Columbia and Willamette rivers have been primarily catch and release with very few sturgeon kept. That’s an extra 20,000 keeper-sized fish available. The primary sturgeon spawning grounds have been closed to fishing, areas that were normally heavily fished, reducing the total pressure especially for over-sized sturgeon. Few sturgeon congregate below Bonneville Dam, a historically strong fishery. The sea lions feasting at Bonneville have scattered throughout the system. This winter and spring on the Willamette river, we have caught larger fish than ever. 20 – 40 fish a day have been norm with many over 50 lbs. Last June and July we followed the sturgeon to Astoria on the lower Columbia. This area is mostly saltwater, which the smaller “shakers” don’t like. Slow days average 20 fish and fast action fishing was 50 sturgeon. Most days several sturgeon between 100 and 300 pounds were caught. Much of the summer Astoria fishery is done is shallow, sandy flats where they feed aggressively. These are the wildest sturgeon we have caught, regularly running 50 – 100 yards, jumping completely out of the water like tarpon. This is the best catch and release fishery on the planet! We cannot kill the fish but the memories will last...