ODFW moving some hatchery spring chinook to Coast Fork

What you see in that photo below is a hatchery springer trying to spawn in the lower McKenzie River.

Chinook Spawning McKenzie River

That can be a problem for the last viable run of Upper Willamette Spring Chinook. So ODFW is doing something about it.

From ODFW: Last year more than 6,000 hatchery spring chinook returned to the McKenzie. Many of these fish bypassed the hatchery and spawned in the McKenzie River, impacting the McKenzie’s wild chinook, which are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Upper Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead Conservation and Recovery Plan limits the number of hatchery fish that are allowed to stray onto wild salmon spawning grounds in the McKenzie River. ODFW’s reallocation of 210,000 smolts from the McKenzie to the Coast Fork is part of a comprehensive effort to reduce the number of hatchery salmon spawning in the McKenzie River.

The agency is still releasing one million hatchery salmon smolts on top of a healthy wild run. But the fact that they are addressing this problem at all is encouraging.

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3 Responses to ODFW moving some hatchery spring chinook to Coast Fork

  1. Snoopy Rodder says:


    Thanks for news pertaining to conservation. Caddis Fly deserves many pats on the back for those efforts.

    But I have to question, “healthy wild run”. Moving hatchery fish off of the McKenzie is a small step in the correct direction.


  2. Lt Mac says:

    Interesting but what will “moving some” off the river do. If the plan is to make a hatchery river on the coast fork a reality then they need to clean up that river and make some boating access. Unless they decrease the hatchry count on the McKenzie nothing will change.

  3. Rob R says:

    This seems like good news on several fronts, and it’s a welcome sign that the Springfield office has it’s eye on the ball. Fewer hatchery fish in the McKenzie, and a big shot of nutrients to the Coast Fork and Middle Fork. And a whole new area for salmon fanatics to play around.

    As I understand it, the state is legally required to rear and plant out these fish as part of the mitigation agreement, so it makes sense to put them where they will do the least harm to wild salmon.

    Cleaning up the Coast Fork is a great idea, but I don’t see how it relates to this man made fishery. Even if the fish all die in the summer due to poor water conditions, it seems like the basin will still enjoy a boost in productivity from the decomposing carcasses. Should be a boon for trout.

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