emergency angling closure at the “Hatchery Hole” at Cole Rivers Hatchery Dam

An emergency angling closure at the “Hatchery Hole” at Cole Rivers Hatchery Dam begins Monday, May 15 through July 31, 2017.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists need to protect hatchery spring Chinook broodstock collection and maximize future angler benefit throughout the Rogue River.

Russ Stauff, ODFW’s Rogue Watershed Manager said Cole Rivers Hatchery’s spring Chinook program is very successful, particularly when compared to other hatchery springer programs with similar ocean distribution. These include the Trinity River Hatchery on the Klamath River and Rock Creek Hatchery on the North Umpqua River.

“Cole Rivers’ program consistently outperforms these, but in recent years, we’ve had somewhat of a decline in performance. Ocean conditions affected hatchery springer returns in 2015 and 2016. Last year, we ended up slightly below our broodstock collection goal,” Stauff said.

Stauff said the current season looks similar to 2016 with possibly even lower numbers of hatchery fish returning. The closure is mean to address these concerns and ensure the hatchery program provides the best possible benefit to anglers throughout the Rogue River in the future.

Cole Rivers Hatchery produces1.7 million spring Chinook salmon for release into the Rogue River, and has a broodstock collection goal of 1,600 returning hatchery spring Chinook.

As part of a 10-year review of the Rogue Spring Chinook Management Plan, biologists are working closely with Cole Rivers staff to optimize hatchery rearing performance such as pond densities, and adjust release strategies for improved hatchery fish survival. Although poor returns are primarily due to ocean conditions, these hatchery practice adjustments will help.

The Hatchery Hole was opened in 2002 as a new opportunity for anglers to harvest a then overabundance of returning adult hatchery fish.