Upper Rogue River has new boundary

The Fisher's Ferry boat ramp — not the old Gold Ray Dam site — is the new lower boundary of the upper Rogue River, one of a handful of changes to area sport-fishing regulations this year.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife went through its routine reworking of the entire suite of sport-fishing regulations last year during a public vetting of regulation proposals and, eventually, the current regulations.

Gold Ray Dam for decades had been the lower boundary of the upper Rogue, which often has separate fishing seasons and bag limits than the 126 miles of river flowing downstream of it. But its 2010 removal made that boundary less obvious.

ODFW biologists prefer setting boundaries at dams or boat ramps so they are easier to define, which helps with enforcement. The old dam site posed a quandary because anglers launching at TouVelle State Park would fish most of the way to Fisher's Ferry under one set of regulations and finish under another.

So anglers who fished the roughly mile of water for fall chinook in September below what used to be the dam site will now see the chinook season upstream of Fisher's Ferry close Aug. 31.

Likewise, the upper Rogue's fall flies-only season of Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 now includes that water between the dam site and the ramp. And that water also will be part of the flies-and-lures only season downstream of Shady Cove Park from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.

A smattering of other changes will also affect Rogue Valley anglers beginning this year:

  • Diamond Lake is now open year-round to angling, so it is no longer one of the regional lakes that open annually on the fourth Saturday of April, and it won't close Oct. 31 any longer.
  • Lemolo Lake in eastern Douglas County now opens April 1, and the angling year extends through December instead of stopping Oct. 31. However, in that stretch of time before and after the traditional season, all brown trout must be released unharmed.
  • The far upper Rogue and its tributaries upstream of Lost Creek Lake are now open year-round. They used to be open during the traditional trout season of late April through October.
  • The annual white sturgeon limit has dropped from five to two.
  • Purple varnish clams now have a daily limit of 72.
  • Divers who take rock scallops now have to report their catch to the ODFW on a free harvest card. To get a card, call the ODFW's Marine Program in Charleston at 1-541-888-5515.
  • Free Fishing Weekend, when licenses are not required for fishing, crabbing or clamming, is June 1-2 this year.

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

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