Miller Lake is home to the Miller Lake Lamprey, a native species that occurs only in the Klamath Basin and was first discovered in Miller Lake. The resident Miller Lake Lamprey is the smallest predatory species of lamprey in the world, averaging 3 to 6 inches in total body length. In the 1950s, Miller Lake Lamprey parasitized introduced trouts and Tui Chub in Miller Lake. The Oregon Game Commission was concerned that Miller Lake Lamprey compromised trout fisheries in the lake, and in 1958 applied the chemical toxaphene to the lake to eradicate them. The toxaphene application successfully eradicated Miller Lake Lamprey. In 1959, the Commission constructed a barrier in Miller Creek approximately one half mile downstream of the lake outflow to prevent lamprey from migrating back into the lake.
The Miller Lake Lamprey is now on the State of Oregon’s Sensitive Species List. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), recognizing that Miller Lake Lamprey are native to Oregon and do not exist outside of Miller Creek and the upper Williamson and Sycan river drainages, created the Miller Lake Lamprey Conservation Plan (OAR 635-500-3885) in 2005. This plan formed the basis of ongoing management for Miller Lake Lamprey.
The Miller Lake Lamprey Conservation Plan is intended to provide guidance for management actions and conservation of Miller Lake Lamprey. This conservation plan is made up of two components: the Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) component, and the implementation strategy component. The OAR component is made up of the OAR adopted by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. This component provides policy direction for conservation and management of Miller Lake lamprey and is considered law. The implementation strategy component of the Miller Lake Lamprey Conservation Plan provides guidance to ODFW staff on implementation of management strategies for Miller Lake lamprey. This implementation strategy portion of the conservation plan is not considered law.
Management strategies to preserve this species include: conserving appropriate habitat conditions and availability within the natural range of the Miller Lake Lamprey, addressing potential impacts from stocking streams with hatchery fish, reducing entrainment, and establishing connectivity within and between local populations.
Final Plan: Miller Lake Lamprey Conservation Plan (Final) (pdf)
Approved by Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission: June 10, 2005
Ben Clemens, 541-757-5113, Ben.Clemens@oregonstate.edu