May 21, 2012
GOLD BEACH, Ore. – Anglers are reminded that beginning June 1, the Rogue River from the mouth upstream to the old Gold Ray Dam site opens to harvest of wild spring chinook salmon. In the zone between the dam site and Dodge Bridge, the wild chinook season runs July 1 – Aug. 31. Above Dodge Bridge, only hatchery fish may be kept throughout the chinook season.
“Spring chinook fishing has been excellent in the lower river this spring,” said Steve Mazur, assistant district biologist in Gold Beach. “In June, the fishing can be really good here, so with the return to zone regulations, anglers can enjoy additional opportunity.”
Zone regulations are two adult chinook (hatchery or wild) per day, 20 per year. Anglers cannot continue fishing for jack salmon after reaching the two bag limit on adult salmon.
Biologists allow the harvest of wild spring chinook in portions of the river after the early returning adults – those most impacted by Lost Creek Reservoir construction and operation – have already migrated upstream to summer holding pools in the upper river.
With the removal of Gold Ray Dam and ODFW’s fish counting station in 2010, biologists use carcass counts to estimate the number of wild spring chinook returns. The estimate for returns in 2011 is 9,940 wild spring chinook and 6,752 hatchery fish.
ODFW continues to implement the 2007 Rogue River Spring Chinook Conservation Plan in managing this fishery. Fishing regulations will follow the format in the annual sport fishing regulations for the foreseeable future. ODFW plans to add back additional opportunity for harvest of wild fish throughout the river as returns meet the desired status level sustainably over time.
No forecast of run size exists, but biologists expect wild and hatchery returns equal to or better than last year. Also expected are better angling conditions because of more moderate river flows in 2012.
“The jack return at Cole Rivers Hatchery over the last two years was the best consecutive return since the early 2000s,” said Dan Van Dyke, district fish biologist in Central Point. “Good numbers have returned to the hatchery already, and we expect to recycle fish back into the fishery as early as next week. We see this as good news for upper river anglers.”
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.