Cole Rivers chinook collection mission accomplished

What's the latest with the salmon counts at Cole Rivers Hatchery? Have they collected enough fish to meet their egg requirements or are they still trying to catch fish with that temporary trap?

T.T., Email submission

Well, T.T., just as the crew at Cole Rivers Hatchery sounded the alarm bell that it might not collect enough spring chinook salmon to meet its annual spawning targets, the chinook started to show up.

Returns of Rogue River spring chinook have shot up to 2,975 fish so far this year at Cole Rivers, not only enough to satisfy the hatchery's production needs but also enough to start donating some fish to meet Native American treaty agreements, hatchery Manager David Pease says.

"We're two weeks away from starting to spawn, and we'll make it, no problem," Pease says.

That included 221 chinook captured during a never-tried method using a makeshift trap to capture fish lured to a Rogue side-channel fueled with water from the hatchery's outflow as Rogue water circulates through the facility.

The hatchery annually spawns 1,100 females to 550 males each year to make its 1.7 million-egg production goal. Those fish have been set aside for this year's spawn, and hatchery workers are grading fish as they come in, Pease says.

On Thursday, Cole Rivers workers were able to donate excess males and smaller jacks and subjacks to meet Native American treaty responsibilities.

The Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw tribes received 111 male adults, 62 jacks and 29 subjacks. The Coquille Tribe got 129 adult males, 97 jacks and 67 subjacks.

— 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.

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