Trout fishermen yearning to catch a big fish will have the opportunity to do so during the months of December and early January as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife kicks off its annual brood trout stocking program.
That’s when rainbow trout weighing from 7-12 pounds will be released at several locations around the Willamette Valley.
The large fish are produced as part of ODFW’s brood trout program at Roaring River hatchery near Scio, Ore., one of the agency’s primary trout rearing facilities. Brood trout are 3- and 4-year-old trout used to produce the eggs necessary to sustain the hatchery program. Although trout can continue to produce eggs for many years, at age four they reach what hatchery managers consider the point of diminishing returns, according to Luke Allen, manager of Roaring River hatchery. So these are removed from the hatchery system and taken to local fishing holes to make room for the next generation of brood stock.
“These are big, beautiful fish,” said Alex Farrand, fish biologist at ODFW’s South Willamette Watershed District. “For many trout fishermen, the opportunity to catch one of these lunkers is the highlight of the year.”
This year brood trout are being released at 10 locations across the Willamette Valley – Canby Pond in Canby, Henry Hagg Lake near Forest Grove, Huddleston Pond in Willamina, Junction City Pond near Eugene, Mt. Hood Pond in Gresham, Sheridan Pond in Sheridan, Timber Linn and Waverly lakes in Albany, Walter Wirth Lake and Walling Pond in Salem. Some of these lakes have already been stocked and the remainder will receive fish next week and periodically during the next 4-6 weeks. Anglers are reminded that Henry Hagg Lake is closed for the winter and will not reopen to fishing until the first Saturday of March 2013.
Many of the brood trout exceed 20 inches, which means the daily bag limit on these fish is one per day under Oregon sport fishing regulations.
Future stockings depend on the availability of brood stock, according to Farrand, who explained that these fish aren’t available for release until after they’ve spawned. Any additional stockings will be announced in ODFW’s weekly recreation report, which is posted on-line on Wednesday mornings at www.dfw.state.or.us/RR/willamette. For detailed directions to the release sites, anglers are encouraged to visit the agency’s on-line trout stocking map, which can be accessed at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/trout_stocking_schedules.