Cole Rivers Hatchery plans to recycle "retread steelhead"
Written by Mail Tribune   
Sunday, 21 November 2004 09:19

The number of catchable summer steelhead will jump by 200 in the upper Rogue River on Friday.?? Cole Rivers Hatchery workers plan to recycle another set of "retread steelhead" from hatchery ponds to the Rogue at TouVelle State Park.

The fish will push to more than 1,000 the number of steelhead recycled in this program popular among anglers.

The hatchery only needs 150 pair of breeding adult summer steelhead to collect enough eggs to grow the 220,000 summer steelhead smolts it releases into the upper Rogue each spring.

The remaining steelhead that enter the hatchery are trucked downstream and released so anglers can catch and keep these hatchery-bred fish.

The movement of summer steelhead into the hatchery has been slow this fall, most likely because of low and cool water conditions.

So far, the hatchery has received just 1,346 summer steelhead, hatchery manager Randy Robart says.

That?s a far cry from the 4,362 collected at the same time in 2002, he says.

The low return so far has caused the hatchery to recycle just 821 summer steelhead so far this season, Robart says. Normally, about 2,000 of these fish would have been recycled by mid- November.

If Steelhead aren?t your bag, you could head farther upstream to Lost Creek Lake ? another water-body teeming with a few hundred extra fish.

Hatchery workers last week released about 200 of the football-sized rainbow trout from a cement viewing pond and into the lake.

The fish were released at the Takelma Boat Ramp near Lost Creek dam.

Each year, the hatchery keeps a few hundred of its rainbow trout as "show fish" for hatchery visitors.

The 2-year-old trout had ballooned to 4-5 pounds, Robart says.

"They were fed by the public, and they?re scary fat," Robart says.

And fat fish help anglers more than long fish.

Like most lakes in southwest Oregon, anglers may keep one trout over 20 inches a day as part of their five-trout daily limit.

Many of these trout hover around the 20-inch limit.

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