By Associated Press • 

Hatcheries releasing fish early because of drought

SALEM — Hatcheries in northwest Oregon have released fish ahead of schedule due to decreasing water levels.

The Statesman Journal reports the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s North Nehalem Hatchery released 1,550 rainbow trout averaging 1 pound each in early June. The trout had been scheduled for release in September at about 2 pounds each.

A fish biologist with the department, Robert Bradley, says the recent dry weather has resulted in some of the worst flows he’s ever seen.

Spring chinook being raised at the Trask River Hatchery will be released about a month early.

Chinook at Cedar Creek Hatchery and Rhoades Pond fisheries are doing better because they are raising fewer fish.

Bradley says anything that’s caught and released should be handled carefully in these conditions.

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