Drive east out Highway 126, heading for the Cascades, and as the road follows a bend in the McKenzie River, you come upon the Leaburg Fish Hatchery. It has been stocking the river with fish since the 1950s to mitigate the effects of dams built in the Willamette Valley.
But now the hatchery is at risk of closure, after a brief 2018 reprieve from a previous shutdown threat.
Hatchery fish can be controversial, with naysayers pointing to genetic and ecological risks to wild fish populations, particularly salmon. However, along the McKenzie, river guides and recreationists have long counted on Leaburg’s hatchery trout for their catch.