Carl Cole looks down at this cache of 2-year-olds in what amounts to a watery playpen in Greens Creek and can’t help but feel a little paternal.
Cole and his fellow Middle Rogue Steelheaders have been babysitting these 2,400 hatchery winter steelhead smolts in a makeshift acclimation pond just 20 yards from the where the creek pours into the Rogue River, doing all the sitter’s chores short of diaper-changing.
They feed them, check on them and protect them for two weeks before Cole and the steelheaders send them off to face the wild world on their own.
“They’re doing great,” Cole says. “At first, I didn’t know how we were going to do this. But we did, and we’re about at the end of it. It’s been kind of interesting.”
Read more at the Mail Tribune.