CENTRAL POINT, Ore – A 12-mile section of the upper Rogue River will remain closed to the harvest of wild adult spring chinook salmon to protect the fish, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials announced today.
The Rogue River from Gold Ray Dam upstream to Dodge Bridge, set to open July 1 will remain closed to harvest of wild (no adipose fin clip) adult spring chinook salmon through July 31. ODFW is initiating a rule process to extend the closure through August 31. Wild jacks and abundant hatchery (adipose fin-clipped) spring chinook may be retained.
According to Rogue District Fish Biologist Dan VanDyke these closures were needed to protect spawning spring chinook salmon.
“We need to reduce angling impacts on wild adult spring chinook so as many of them spawn as possible,” he said. “We’ve had similar emergency closures in the previous three years. There are hatchery spring chinook available to harvest, and anglers can still keep wild jacks.”
VanDyke said biologists do not believe counts of returning wild spring chinook will meet the conservation criteria adopted in the 2007 Rogue River Spring Chinook Conservation Plan. The plan, developed with input from a citizen’s advisory committee, calls for a minimum return of 3,500 wild spring chinook in any given year and a three-year average return of 5,000.
“The 2009 run is an improvement over the last several years, but we still expect it to fall below the spawning escapement needed to meet – or even exceed – the plan’s criteria,” VanDyke said.
Similar harvest closures on other parts of the river were announced in late May.
The mainstem upstream to Hog Creek Boat Landing is closed to wild adult spring chinook harvest through July 10. Anglers may continue harvesting wild jacks and hatchery spring chinook. Beginning July 11, wild chinook salmon may be retained with a bag limit of two adult salmon or steelhead per day, 20 per year, of which only 10 may be wild chinook salmon.
Closed to harvest of wild adult spring chinook through July 31 is the section of river between Hog Creek Boat Landing to Gold Ray Dam. Anglers may currently harvest wild jacks and hatchery spring chinook.
The mission of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is to protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations. The agency consists of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, a commission-appointed director and a statewide staff of approximately 950 permanent employees. Headquartered in Salem, ODFW has regional offices in Clackamas, Roseburg, Bend, and La Grande with ten district offices located throughout the state. For additional information, please visit www.dfw.state.or.us.