Thursday April 25, 2024


For almost a year, the volunteers with the Gardiner Reedsport Winchester Bay STEP program have worked to get their fall Chinook salmon ready to be released. However, a recent burglary at their facility resulted in an estimated 20,000 salmon being killed.

STEP is entirely volunteer-run, with members doing the important tasks of feeding, clipping, and ensuring the salmon grow to size before being released into Winchester Bay. Vice President Doug Buck has been involved with the program since 2006 and in his time has seen countless salmon batches make their way to the bay from their holding pools. Buck said he and his fellow volunteers thought they had seen it all when it came to their hatchery until now.

“Somebody had broken into the feed shed and got a bottle of bleach and dumped it into our rearing pond where we had 18 to 20,000 fall Chinook salmon,” Buck said. “It means a lot to us… it draws guys and people from out of state in our fishing derbies.”

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