State again to ban killing of Rogue spring chinook

Rogue River anglers will be banned from killing wild spring chinook salmon again for the remainder of this year's run to ensure as many of this depressed run as possible can spawn in late summer, state fish biologists said this morning.

The changes were expected to be adopted as an emergency closure later today, said ODFW biologist Todd Confer.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shelved the wild spring chinook harvest over concerns that the returns over Gold Ray Dam near Gold Hill are too low.

Under the Rogue River Spring Chinook Management Plan adopted in 2007, anglers are banned from killing wild spring chinook before June 1, when those fishing below Gold Ray Dam could kill up to two wild spring chinook a day.

But a new forecast for the Rogue estimates only 4,700 wild spring chinook over the dam, putting the run under the three-year running average of 5,000 wild fish required to lift the wild-fish ban, Confer said.

Anglers may still keep up to two adult hatchery-bred chinook a day. Fish released from Cole Rivers Hatchery on the upper Rogue have clipped adipose fins on their backs near their tails.

Also, anglers may still keep wild spring chinook "jack" salmon under 24 inches long.

— Mark Freeman

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