As the sun re-enters the Eagle Creek valley, the coho salmon and winter steelhead smolts begin their downstream migration to the ocean. As the smolts leave the hatchery, ospreys can be seen foraging in the creek and bald eagles sometimes visit to observe the ospreys. At the same time, young of the year coho and winter steelhead begin their freshwater life cycle feeding in the hatchery tank room and outside raceways.
Coho salmon and winter steelhead are fin-clipped and tagged and relocated from their nursery areas to production ponds for the remainder of their stay at the hatchery.
In October and November coho salmon return from the ocean to the hatchery to spawn. Adult handling, spawning and incubation operations can be observed during weekdays. Wednesday is our usual target day for spawning, but please call ahead to the hatchery at (503)630-6270 ext 201 to confirm the schedule if you want to come and observe this activity. Adult coho and steelhead can be seen in Eagle Creek and ascending the fish ladder into the adult holding pond.
In January, February and March adult winter steelhead return to the hatchery to spawn.
Spawning operations occur every other week and are open to the public. There is a tremendous sport fishery for winter steelhead in Eagle Creek during this time frame.
The staff at Eagle Creek is willing to answer questions and provide tours as we have time available. If you or your group would like a tour of the facility, please call ahead to schedule this so that we can adjust plans accordingly and make time in the daily project list to be able to show you around and answer questions in more depth. The hatchery number is (503) 630-6270, ext 201.