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Guest Author | 01/01/2024 | Fishing , Outdoor Recreation

Fishing the Alsea Hatchery & the Oregon Hatchery Research Center

Corvallis offers many winter fishing opportunities, but the Alsea Hatchery and the Oregon Hatchery Research Center are sometimes overlooked as options.

Constructed in 1936, the Alsea Hatchery plays an integral role in providing steelhead as a sustainable resource in the Alsea and Siletz rivers, as well as rainbow trout for a number of stocking locations around the state.

Winter is the best season to visit the hatchery, while steelheaders flock to the river in search of a fish to bring home for dinner. Fish begin showing up in the trap in late December to early January. By March, the trap is usually filled with lots of adult steelhead that have traveled up the fish ladder from the river and are being held for spawning the next generation of fish. In the back of the facility, the rearing ponds hold smolts and trout, while a circular pond holds a white sturgeon for viewing.

ODFW offers a visitor's guide with more information on hours and contact information. Guided tours of the facility can be arranged in advance.

Just up Alsea Highway on Fall Creek Road sits the Oregon Hatchery Research Center. Here, there are holding ponds filled with trophy trout and sturgeon, with a vending machine that releases fish food to create your own personal feeding frenzy. While the purpose of the hatchery is to spawn fish for anglers, the OHRC exists to answer scientific questions related to fish recovery and hatchery programs. There are year-round tours, and classroom opportunities are designed to offer a science based, interactive collaboration with educators. OHRC also has a visitor's guide on the ODFW website.

If you're planning to fish while visiting either of these facilities, steelhead begin to show in significant numbers in January through March. April is ideal for viewing steelhead spawning in the gravel. Within a mile of OHRC is Thissel Pond, where rainbow trout are regularly stocked in the winter and spring. For the best opportunities to catch rainbow trout, check ODFW's stocking schedule. You can also find volunteering opportunities on the ODFW website.

Article by Randall Bonner. Photo: Steelhead trout drift in an Oregon stream, courtesy of Oregon State University (CC BY-SA 2.0). Keep up with Corvallis news, events and happenings by signing up for our email newsletter.

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