Visiting a Fish Hatchery

Tuesday July 23rd 2019

I got a late start this morning that caused a change to my plans for the day. My plan to drive the eighty miles to Crater Lake National Park at the top of the Cascades will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day. I don’t want a repeat of my trip to Mount Rainier National Park last month. There is nothing worse than arriving after all the parking places at the popular stops have been taken.

Water behind the Cole M. Rivers Hatchery which is below the Lost Creek Dam.

Trying to be optimistic, I set out for the National Park anyway. Traffic along the Crater Lake Scenic Highway was heavy and I wasn’t making very good time. The decision to put off the trip until another day was made along the way. I stopped about halfway at the Cole M. Rivers Fish Hatchery. Oregon has a lot of hatcheries to compensate for all the dams on the Salmon spawning rivers. This hatchery is right below the Lost Creek Dam on the Rogue River.

Some of the many holding ponds at the hatchery. Most are empty right now.
Large fish that have made it up the fish ladder and are waiting for the time to spawn (or be spawned).
The fish ladder to help the fish make the last set of jumps into one of the holding ponds.
The last jump into the first holding pond. I saw two fish attempt the jump, but didn’t catch them on camera.

This hatchery has a more year round fishery support role than the hatchery I visited on the Columbia River, but my visit was still during a slow time in the spawning and rearing activity. The majority of the pools and holding ponds were empty. There were a few ponds with juvenile fish from the winter and spring spawning. A couple of holding ponds have started to get filled with fish making there way up the fish ladder for the fall spawning. I watched the ladder for half an hour and saw two fish attempting to make the last jump into the first holding pond. Clearly the run hasn’t started yet. This fish ladder is more than 1500 feet above sea level, so the fish have work to do to get to the hatchery.

The hatchery had many pretty roses.
The Rose of the day
A pretty cluster of rose blossoms.

After visiting the hatchery and the day use area on Lost Creek Lake, I returned to my RV home to get a head start on one of tomorrow’s tasks. The long delayed laundry finally got done. I had to do two loads just to get caught up on my dirty clothes. The towels and bedding remain for another day. Two plus hours of schlepping laundry, waiting for and then monitoring machines is enough for one day. The good thing is this campground’s laundry is one of the cheapest I’ve encountered. It only took 5 quarters for each washer and 4 for the dryer.

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