DFR & Life at the Hatchery

ConnieDFROur daily schedule generally begins around 7:30am with a BS session at the hatchery office. Matt, the manager, and the three techs share comments/opinions about current events around the hatchery. One tech, Eric, has been off with the birth of their new baby, and the other Eric is off on a four-day rotation, so we don’t always see everyone…even though they all live at the hatchery. We have had some college students (Corvallis is the home of OSU…Oregon State University) and another volunteer that stop by to help with hatchery work. All men, except Brooke, one of the college students.

Afterward, we are generally in charge of DFR. An acronym we made up to describe Dead Fish Removal. Matt compares it to a large city where life goes on, but people die…so do fish. So we check all the ponds (not tanks as I mistakenly called them at first) and bail out the dead ones. We may get four of five of the 6″ to 8″ fish, but 50 to 100 or so of the little 2″ guys; keeping in mind there are thousands of fish in the pool. Have yet to find a fish corpse in the 18″ Rainbow pond. Yeah!

EagleSwoopingThe fun part of DFR is throwing our a couple for the Bald Eagles that swoop down and grab them. Fantastic! Only have this picture so far, but will post better as we can.
pushingFishBruce and a volunteer push fish toward the end of the pond where they’ll be pumped into a waiting tank truck to transport to a nearby lake.

WeighingFishThis pond has legal size rainbows. The hatchery doesn’t measure how long, but how many fish per pound. Bruce weighs a couple samples and determines these are 3 fish per pound.

Eric-loadingFishTruckHere is Eric waiting for the fish to be loaded on his tank truck. I’ll go with him this day and we’ll plant the fish in a small lake about 65 miles away. The fish are pushed into a large funnel (will get a picture next time) and sucked through the 10″ tube to the large vat on top the trailer. The vat has 2″ cross tubes so the fish can funnel from the vat into the truck, and the water goes out the other tube.

Fish-in-to-truckHere you can see the fish shooting in to the tank of the truck. We only loaded about 1000 fish this trip, but the truck can haul much more.

Connie went with Eric the following day to transport rainbows to a couple other lakes on the coast near Florence. They also loaded, by netting, a hundred 18″ rainbows.

Later in the week, we had 2 regular transport trucks, and 2 small 5th wheel tankers come to load several thousand steelhead smolts. Smolt is when there ready to go from fresh water to the sea. All the trucks transported to a lake with a stream to the ocean.

Our work week is only 4 hours a day with Saturday and Sunday off. It is very interesting…even if it does seem to rain every day.

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DFR & Life at the Hatchery — 1 Comment

  1. It is amazing to see you moving to a fifth wheel so soon. That says allot about what a great life you’ve made for yourselves. I am excited for you and bolstered to know that once we make a purchase we can feel good about the decision.

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