Anglers get shot at wild springers below old dam site

Beginning Friday, June 1, Rogue River anglers fishing downstream of the old Gold Ray Dam site will be allowed to keep up to two wild spring chinook salmon as the annual protection for early-run wild spring chinook abates.

From the dam site near Gold Hill upstream to the Cole Rivers Hatchery deadline, anglers must continue to release wild springers and keep only fin-clipped hatchery fish.

The catch-and-release rules are intended to help early-run springers, which are the most depressed sub-group of the Rogue run.

The vast majority of early-run wild spring chinook have already hit the upper Rogue and are waiting in holes for spawning in late summer and early fall.

Downstream of the former dam site, about half of the springers caught so far this season have been wild fish that were released.

Waters from the old dam site up to Dodge Bridge near Eagle Point will open to wild spring chinook harvest July 1 through Aug. 31, which is when the chinook season up there closes.

Waters upstream of Dodge Bridge are closed to retention of wild spring chinook all season.

The limit remains two adult chinook a day.

The Cole Rivers Hatchery stocking truck was busy this past week dumping a major load of legal-sized and larger trout in time for Memorial Day Weekend and the start of the summer camping season.

The biggest release of the week came close to home Monday when hatchery technicians released 20,000 legals and 500 bigger rainbows at Lost Creek Lake, says Dave Pease, the hatchery's interim manager. The fish were split between the Takelma boat ramp near the dam and the marina ramp at Stewart State Park.

The bigger trout average about a pound, Pease says.

Applegate Lake got 9,000 legals and 500 bigger trout Monday, as well.

Willow Lake on Tuesday received 3,000 legals and 1,500 larger trout for Memorial Day campers and cabin-renters at the Jackson County Parks facilities there.

Also, the Rogue upstream of Lost Creek Lake received its first batch of 2,250 legal-sized trout Thursday. Fish are stocked there weekly through the summer camping season.

Lake Selmac near Selma in Josephine County also received 3,000 legals.

Campers can make reservations now to score a free spot Saturday, June 2, at any of 53 state-run campgrounds that will be waiving fees that day to celebrate State Parks Day.

Full hook-ups, electrical hook-ups and tent sites are free that day, as is entry to 26 day-use areas operated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

The Oregon Legislature in 1997 designated State Parks Day as a way to celebrate Oregon's park heritage.

To reserve a campsite for June 2, call Reservations Northwest at 1-800-452-5687 before 5 p.m. Thursday, May 31, or reserve online at

About one-half of Oregon state campgrounds accept reservations.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or

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