Cole Rivers Hatchery Fish Counts

Cole Rivers Hatchery is the largest producer of hatchery fish on the coast of Oregon. Almost all of the fish production at Cole Rivers is done to mitigate for the fish production that was lost when miles of high quality fish habitat was blocked by Applegate Dam (Applegate Reservoir) and William Jess Dam (Lost Creek Reservoir).

Annual production goals at Cole Rivers:

A photo of the raceways at Cole Rivers Hatchery.

  • spring Chinook salmon - 1,703,250 smolts
  • coho salmon - 75,000 smolts
  • summer steelhead - 220,000 smolts
  • Rogue winter steelhead - 132,000 smolts
  • Applegate winter steelhead - 132,000 smolts

Since 2007 all releases at Cole Rivers have been adipose fin-marked. We strive to remove the adipose fin on 100 percent of our hatchery spring Chinook, summer/winter steelhead, and coho. The public is welcome to come and visit the hatchery during this marking process which typically takes place in the spring (between late February to early April, recommended to call ahead). A portion of the salmon releases receive coded wire tags in addition to the fin-clip to help fisheries managers evaluate catch and survival rates and project results. A portion of the steelhead releases receive additional marks to evaluate projects such as off station releases and different rearing strategies

Roughly weekly, the fish are counted out of the pond and ladder, then sorted.  The count of fish is summarized and data presented as a comparison of the “return to date” of this year’s fish run to a 10 year running average of “run return to date.” This data is also often included in the weekly Recreation Report for the SW Zone. 

These numbers are not final, and are subject to change once ponds are emptied at end of season and all spawning for each species is completed.

Finalized Cole Rivers Hatchery fish returns are reported in the annual propagation report found here, which also includes fish used for broodstock, food bank donations, stream enrichment, angler recycling, and other fish propagation related activities for Cole Rivers Hatchery.

Anglers wishing to learn more about Rogue River research and conservation plans can click here.

Return to date

Rogue River Conservation Plans

In 2007, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted the Rogue River Spring Chinook Conservation Plan (pdf). The plan sets conservation criteria and desired status goals for wild spring chinook, and defines the management strategies to reach desired status goals. Much work has been done by ODFW field staff in support of the plan.

In January 2013, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted the Rogue Fall Chinook SMU Conservation Plan (pdf). The plan sets conservation criteria and desired status goals for wild fall Chinook in the Rogue River, and five coastal watersheds south of Elk River, and defines the management strategies to reach desired status goals.  Much work has been done by ODFW field staff in support of the plan.

All of ODFW’s conservation plans