Hatchery News



Smith River, CA.

January 2010




The unpredictability of returning runs of adult Chinook salmon afforded Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery a very pleasant surprise this year. The salmon run for this season has broken every past hatchery record.

 During the last three seasons, the returning runs have been far less than spectacular, to say the least.  With a combined total of only 684 Chinook, for these past three years, the hatchery staff {with fingers crossed} hoped for a modestly increased return run for this 2009/2010 season.  Then, on November 18th, after two days of precipitation, the SALMON ARRIVED!

 Rowdy Creek was literally swarming with Chinook salmon.  It was more fish than hatchery manager, Andrew Van Scoyk had seen during the nearly twenty years he has been at Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery.  In fact, one of the early days during the run, a total number of recorded salmon reached 302.  That one-day total set a new hatchery record – out numbering yearly totals for sixteen of the hatchery’s last thirty years.

 However, that record lasted for only four days.  On November 22nd, 379 Chinook were recorded and on November 27th, the hatchery recorded 386 salmon.  The returning adult Chinook salmon run continued into the middle of January, 2010 – producing a grand total of 2,775 salmon during the run.  Once again, another record was shattered as the previous record had been a total of 1,186 adults in 1997.

 2009/2010:  Adult Chinook salmon returns at Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery

Males                    Jacks                     Females                Females spawned

1,046                    577                       1,152                              37

 This year’s Chinook run has brought with it some mighty sore arms and backs, but you might call it “The agony of success”.  However, we are not complaining, it truly beats the alternatives.

 It is anyone’s guess whether or not future seasons will be as prolific as this season has been.  The excellent return of Jack salmon bodes well for the future; yet, we have learned from experience that Chinook salmon can be extremely hard to predict.