Rogue Bay, other estuaries open to fishing with two rods

Salmon anglers fishing the Rogue River bay and other Oregon coastal estuaries will be allowed to fish with two rods instead of the traditional one this summer and fall.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has extended where its $21.50 two-rod validation will be accepted now through Oct. 31 under this experiment.

Oregon's two-rod validation has historically been good only for lakes and ponds, but the agency extended it earlier this year to portions of North Coast estuaries. This week's rule extended that.

The rule applies to the Rogue estuary from the mouth to the Ferry Hole boat ramp at river mile 6.

On the Chetco, it applies from the mouth upstream to the Harbor Water Intake near river mile 2.

On the Umpqua River, it applies upstream to the Scottsburg Bridge where Highway 38 crosses the river.

In all cases, it applies to salmon and steelhead fishing. Those fishing other species, such as perch in the Rogue Bay, can use just one rod.

In the Rogue Bay, the volume of anglers and wind conditions likely will self-regulate how many anglers run two rods, says Steve Mazur, an ODFW fish biologist in Gold Beach.

It could be difficult for anglers to keep track of twice as many rods out of a single boat in the Rogue Bay, particularly on windy days, Mazur says. It likely has a greater opportunity in larger estuaries like Coos Bay, he says.

Mazur believes it will be used mostly by fishing guides trolling multiple rods to try and fill the two-salmon limit for one last customer in his or her boat.

Dan Van Dyke, ODFW's Rogue District fish biologist, says the two-rod expansion is a pilot project that, if popular, could be extended farther upstream in the Rogue.

Rogue "spike" in flows delayed

The spike in Lost Creek Lake out-flows to help give wild fall chinook salmon a cooler Rogue River in which to migrate was put on hold this week because the chinook aren't yet on the move, authorities said.

At the behest of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was poised Thursday to increase the reservoir's out-flows to 2,100 cubic feet per second in the annual spike meant to cool waters in the Lower Rogue Canyon to stave off natural warm-water diseases.

But regular netting surveys in the lower Rogue just outside of Gold Beach show that the fall chinook aren't leaving the bay and heading upstream, says Pete Samarin, an ODFW biologist in Central Point.

Samarin opted Wednesday not to raise the releases, deciding it's better to keep the water for release when the migrating chinook really need it, he says.

Instead, Samarin says he ordered the Lost Creek Lake out-flows Wednesday to raise from 1,600 cfs to 1,700 cfs to help reduce the Rogue's warming during triple-digit heat forecast for today and Saturday. The regular release schedule will resume once fall chinook start heading upstream en masse.

The middle Rogue and portions of the Applegate River already sport some fall chinook that moved upstream earlier in the run, Samarin says.

Bike the Rogue taking reservations

Cyclists can save money by making reservations now for the seventh annual Bike the Rogue event focused around the lower Rogue River and Pacific out of Gold Beach.

The event features three different rides on low-traffic roads in and around Gold Beach, with all three routes following the banks of the Rogue and across two bridges.

They include a 25-mile ride with 1,100 vertical feet of climbing, a 40-mile ride with 2,000 feet of elevation gain, and a 100-kilometer ride with 4,000 feet of climbing.

The 40-mile and 100-kilometer rides finish at the ocean.

Entry fees include a free ticket to the Gold Beach Brew Fest that weekend. That's a $15 value.

Those who register online before Sept. 1 save $5 per rider.

Registration and waiver forms are available at the Bike the Rogue website, http://goldbeachrotary.com/bike-the-rogue, or email biketherogue@gmail.com.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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