By Ron Brown
GOLD HILL, Ore. — With summer here, for many people in Southern Oregon nothing beats a day on the Rogue River, hoping to catch a salmon. Oregon Fish and Wildlife, faced with more salmon than needed to restock Cole Rivers Hatchery, is giving anglers another chance to land a big one.
There were some surprised rafters, school kids and fishermen at the Gold Hill Sports Park boat ramp when two ODFW fish stocking trucks pulled up and dumped hundreds of spring Chinook salmon into the Rogue River. It’s a program that’s gone on for years, but varies with the size of the salmon run up the river to the Cole Rivers Hatchery.
“That’s why we raise these fish, is for the fishermen. So, we’re taking them back down to Gold Hill boat ramp, make them make the journey again, and hopefully somebody will be lucky enough to catch one,” says Hatchery Assistant Manager Dave Pease.
One boat just happened to come by about the time the first truck dropped about 130 salmon in to the river. Although the fish didn’t seem interested in their lures, the anglers appreciate the re-stocking program. He says high, cold river flows has made many of the salmon reluctant to bite at the bait so far this year. Pease says it’s a good run, though, and that’s possibly due to improved ocean conditions.
Pease also says the goal is to return about 4,000 salmon back to the Rogue River, to give fishermen another chance. He says with the way the run is going now, it looks like they should have that by the first of July. The trucks today were scheduled to make four trips to the Gold Hill boat landing to unload a total of some 900 salmon. Dave Pease say they weigh an average of about 17 pounds.