ODFW scraps plan to halt hatchery releases

COOS BAY, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and a group of stakeholders had considered cutting hatchery releases of certain salmon.

But officials say a reduction wont be happening any longer.

Mike Gray, an ODFW district fish biologist, says the public wasn't happy about the plan. "That particular proposal was not accepted well by the angling public and by others in the community," he said.

But there are some other changes proposed.

The Fall Chinook salmon release could be shifted from the West fork of Millicoma River down to the Coos Basin. "Basically, trying to get those adults to come back to any area that has a lot of angler effort and a lot of harvest," Gray said.

In the Coquille River, there could be more wild salmon East, if Winter steelhead gets shifted South. "Should be that more fish are available in the South fork of the Coquille than what we currently have," Gray said.

A completely new Spring release of Chinook in the Coos River would mean 100,000 more fish. "We may see some fishing in late May, June, July if we have a Spring Chinook program, so that's an added angling opportunity," said Gray.

The state says these proposals will now open up to public comment before the commission votes on any final changes.