Numbers of Rogue River wild spring Chinook have seriously declined during the last 20 years, and a conservation plan is now in place for these fish. Prior to the construction of Lost Creek Dam, an average of 28,000 wild spring Chinook were counted annually at Gold Ray Dam. Between 1997 and 2002, an annual average of just 5,100 wild spring Chinook were counted at Gold Ray Dam. In addition, the fish’s life history has changed, with fewer early-returning, early-spawning wild spring Chinook present in the population. The decline and life history change is attributed to many factors, including construction and operation of Lost Creek Dam.
The status of Rogue River wild spring chinook is of special concern to the people of southwest Oregon. ODFW and a public advisory committee began creating a conservation plan in 2004. Public committee members represented anglers, fish conservationists, and guides from both the upper and lower river. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, NOAA Fisheries, and the Bureau of Land Management also helped develop the plan which was consistent with the guidelines of the Native Fish Conservation Policy.
Nine alternatives for management strategies were created, with Alternatives 8 and 9 receiving the most support from the advisory committee. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted Alternative 9 of the plan and related regulation changes in September 2007. This alternative primarily relies on significant improvements to management strategies over the population’s current habitat range. Modified angling regulations are designed to protect the early-returning wild run that is most depressed.
Upper Rogue: Dan Van Dyke 541-826-8774, Daniel.J.Vandyke@odfw.oregon.gov
Lower Rogue: Steve Mazur 541-247-7605, Steve.J.Mazur@odfw.oregon.gov
Comprehensive Assessment and Update
Annual progress reports
Rogue River Studies