Fish Lake advisory could be lifted

Things are looking up at Fish Lake, where better water and more fish are on the horizon.

A public-health advisory against water contact could be lifted as early as Monday now that levels of potentially toxic blue-green algae appear to have diminished, a biologist said.

Those who return to this High Cascades lake off Highway 140 will be greeted by another 3,000 legal-sized rainbow trout stocked there this week.

The lake was saddled with the voluntary advisory July 1, when tests on water sampled in the cove near Fish Lake Resort showed levels of cyanobacteria at just above the threshold for the safety.

Fisheries biologist Steve Brazier from the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest says the lake's clarity improved enough to collect a water sample Monday for testing.

Should the water show toxin levels below state Department of Human Services thresholds, the requisite one-week waiting period will end Monday and the advisory will be lifted.

Brazier says he hopes to get the test results as early as today.

In expectation of that advisory shift, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stocked the lake as planned.

"Visually, the conditions look much better," says Dan VanDyke, ODFW's Rogue District fish biologist. "In this case, we decided to go ahead (with the stocking) regardless."

Fish Lake is cool enough in the summer to be the only reservoir in Jackson or Josephine counties that gets fresh trout stocked in mid-summer.

The lake sports rainbow trout as well as catchable-sized spring chinook salmon released there as an experiment to see whether they can grow well by feeding on the lake's tui chub population.

Anglers are now catching those chinook, which are up to 11 inches long, VanDyke says.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email

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