Rock Creek Hatchery Closed to Public

Bittersweet news, Roseburg-area anglers! Rock Creek Hatchery, located east of I-5 between Roseburg and Sutherlin, is closing! According to a press release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Rock Creek Hatchery will be closed to the public through February 2011 due to the construction of a fish ladder.

Oregon coho migration in the fall of 2009 - Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Oregon coho migration in the fall of 2009 – Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

What’s a fish ladder, you ask? Good question. A fish ladder – also called a fishway or fish pass – is a structure used to facilitate the natural migration of fish around an artificial barrier, such as a dam. The ladder is made of relatively low steps that the fish swim and leap over in order to get around the barrier. A screen will also be installed that will help protect migrating juvenile fish, and a brand new sorting station will allow hatchery staff separate returning hatchery fish from wild fish.

According to the ODFW, the fish ladder near the Rock Creek Hatchery will open up about 40 miles of stream habitat to salmon, steelhead, trout and Pacific lamprey. The project is estimated to cost $4 million and is being carried out by the Laskey-Clifton Corporation, a Reedsport-based contractor. For more information on the fish ladder or the Rock Creek Hatchery, visit the ODFW website.

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