A Grants Pass-based ecologist with the Siskiyou Project will lead a free, mile-long hike Sunday along Bear Creek to view spawning fall chinook salmon and discuss their life histories.

A Grants Pass-based ecologist with the Siskiyou Project will lead a free, mile-long hike Sunday (note: this date has been corrected) along Bear Creek to view spawning fall chinook salmon and discuss their life histories.

Rich Nawa will lead the three-hour hike beginning at 1 p.m. at Lynn Newbry Park in Talent.

Visitors should bring a pair or Polaroid glasses to see into the water better.

If spawning chinook are not present and visible Sunday at Lynn Newbry Park, the group could move elsewhere on Bear Creek, Nawa says.

Now is the peak spawning time for fall chinook in Bear Creek, which is a major spawning and rearing tributary to the Rogue River, and elsewhere within the Rogue River basin.

They key on shallow flats with slow water flows and good gravels to dig their egg nests, called redds.

Other prime spots to see chinook are near the boat ramp at TouVelle State Park and along the banks of the Rogue at Valley of the Rogue State Park off Interstate 5 near Gold Hill.

Spawning chinook also can be seen at times along the creek's downtown Medford reach, including areas behind the Rogue Valley Mall and at Hawthorne Park.

People who view spawning salmon are asked not to disturb the fish. Those wading in the water are encouraged to avoid stepping or standing in the redds because the fragile eggs can easily be squashed.

To get to Lynn Newbry Park, take Interstate 5 to Exit 21. The park is just west of the interstate.

Nawa leads similar hikes with question-and-answer opportunities each fall along the Applegate and Illinois rivers in Josephine County.

State fish biologists are waiting to verify a rumor that someone caught a new state-record coho salmon recently in Siltcoos Lake near Florence.

Internet chat sites buzzed all week that someone caught a 28-pound coho recently at the lake during the open season on wild coho there.

The current record is 25.5 pounds for a coho caught in Siltcoos Lake in 1966.

"Our biologists have heard about it but right now, it's an unconfirmed rumor," says Jessica Sall, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Fish Division spokeswoman.

"It's certainly a lake capable of producing a new record," Sall says.

Local mushroom expert John Teem will guide a forest walk Saturday, Oct. 23, in search of fungi. The emphasis will be on finding mushrooms and learning something about identification and the diversity of local species. Both edible and poisonous varieties will be discussed.

Meet at Northwest Nature Shop, 154 Oak St., Ashland, at 10 a.m. to carpool. The cost is $15 per person. Space is limited, so sign up early. For more information, call 541-482-3241.

The Siskiyou Mountain Club is holding a volunteer work party this weekend to help clear trail in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

The point of entry for this project, which begins today, is the Babyfoot Lake trailhead. Helpers will camp at Little Falls trailhead, about 40 minutes away.

All sorts of helpers are needed, include people to shuttle food and supplies along the trail to workers. E-mail siskiyoumountainclub@gmail.com for sign-up and details.

If you don't want to work, but still want to mingle, go to the Little Falls trailhead along the Illinois River on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. for a barbecue. The trailhead is three miles west of Highway 199 on Eight Dollar Road near Kerby. Bring a side dish or salad, and learn about the club's 2010 accomplishments and future plans.

This is the mountain club's third work party this year. The club has been working to reopen the Trans-Kalmiopsis Trail, which was largely demolished by the 2002 Biscuit fire.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.