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ODFW hopes to boost hatchery salmon returns to Young’s Bay
November 6, 2009


CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will add approximately 250,000 spring chinook smolts to Young’s Bay near Astoria next spring in an attempt to improve survival and catch rates of salmon throughout the Columbia River and its tributaries.

The smolts will come from a group of 2.2 million hatchery chinook salmon scheduled for release into the Clackamas and McKenzie rivers this month and next spring.

The transfer to the lower Columbia was directed by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission based on input gathered from recreational anglers, commercial fishermen and tribal representatives during a series of public meetings last year. The purpose of those meetings was to decide salmon harvest allocations for the various stakeholders that harvest salmon in the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Young’s Bay is one of four sites in the lower Columbia River that comprise the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Select Area Fisheries Enhancement (SAFE) project. The SAFE project is an experimental salmon stocking program funded primarily by the Bonneville Power Administration. Its primary purpose is to reduce fishing impacts on wild and weak upriver salmon stocks by increasing the availability of hatchery fish in off-channel areas of the lower Columbia.

Biologists believe the stocking at Young’s Bay may result in a 10-fold increase in survival and catch rates because the fish will be released closer to the ocean at a size and time of year that is more conducive to spring chinook out-migration.

“We hope that by creating a larger return of hatchery salmon in the SAFE zones we can protect upriver stocks and provide more fishing opportunity for everybody,” said Steve Williams, deputy director of ODFW’s fish division.

The chinook smolts are currently being raised at ODFW’s McKenzie, Leaburg and Marion Forks hatcheries. They will be transported by truck to Young’s Bay in February, where they will be acclimated in net pens owned and operated by Clatsop County. They will be released in March or April of 2010.




Steve Williams  (503) 947-6209
Rick Swart  (971) 673-6038



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