The closure encompasses the Rogue River reach known as “ODFW markers 1,200 feet below fish ladder entrance markers (RM 157) to Cole Rivers Hatchery Dam.” The closure protects fish returning to this area for broodstock needs while allowing angling opportunity throughout the rest of the Rogue River Chinook fishery.
Hatchery spring Chinook returns are extremely low, and if the current pace continues, broodstock needs for this mitigation program may not be met. A similar emergency rule was enacted in 2017 due to poor returns of early returning fish.
Cole Rivers Hatchery produces about 1.6 million spring Chinook salmon for release into the Rogue River, and has a broodstock collection goal of 1,600 returning spring Chinook.The smolts are released in five groups between August and March of the following year. Managers have been tagging subsets of every release group since 2016 to re-evaluate best release strategies amid ever changing oceanic and climatic conditions.
The first four-year-old adult fish from this expanded tagging program are returning this year. The data will inform future release strategies to ensure hatchery returns are improved and mitigation goals are met.