A fish count was conducted at Gold Ray Dam between 1942 and 2010. Because the dam was located at river mile 126, the dam count tallied only migratory fish using the upper Rogue River. Many more salmon and steelhead used habitat available downstream of Gold Ray.
Fish counts during the 1942 – 1968 period were conducted from an outside viewing platform, with fish being identified and counted as they passed over a “flash board” (bright aluminum plate) on the bottom of the fish ladder. This early counting station was subject to high water damage, and frequently had to be removed during the winter. It was reportedly lost to high water about once/year. The existing fish trap, holding pond, and viewing chamber with two 5’x 5’ windows were built in the fall of 1968. Since 1968, fish counts have been conducted from inside the chamber.
From 1968 – 1992, fish counts were conducted on a 40-hr/week sub-sample schedule by personnel inside the counting chamber. Fish count data from the five 8-hr shifts were extrapolated to arrive at a 7-day fish passage estimate.
In October, 1992, video-recording of fish passage began on a 24x7 basis. Initially, tapes were sent to the Roseburg ODF&W office for review along with Winchester Dam tapes. Beginning in April, 1993, a position was established in the Central Point office for maintenance of the counting chamber and review of the tapes. Video counts on a 24x7 basis have continued since then until the dam was removed in 2010.