March 4, 1918


State Game Warden Carl D. Shoemaker, acting under instructions from the state fish and game commission, Sunday, blasted an "adequate fishway" at the Ament dam by dynamiting the cofferdam running from the concrete portion of the dam back to the north shore, thus enabling fish to ascend by the ladder as well as thru the gap torn thru the cofferdam. He did a good job, too.

The effect was immediately apparent, the imprisoned fish below began the ascent at once and the water level in the lake lowered below to the crest of the dam.

Conditions at the dam were serious, as the fishway had been put out of commission by high water, which had torn a hole thru the cofferdam, shutting off the inlet to the fishway, without supplying sufficient water to enable the fish to ascend thru the opening. Repair of the structure was out of the question, as the Rogue River Public Service corporation is in bankruptcy, with $660,000 debts and no assets to speak of. For years the fishway has only worked at intervals and required constant repair, and last season was out of commission most of the time, shutting off the salmon from the upper river.

Drastic action was forced upon the commission when its repeated efforts to have the situation remedied failed, and the United States bureau of hatcheries threatened to close down the Elk creek hatchery and abandon operations on Rogue river. The receiver was given notice to provide an adequate fishway or authorize the state to, and he told the commission to go ahead. The commission holds liens for $7,000 on the dam for fishway construction done in the past, and refused to expend any more money in repair work.

Mr. Shoemaker was accompanied by Deputy Warder Walker and Screen Superintendent Aitken and several Grants Pass parties, an old powder man from the latter city placing the charges, which were four in number. Two hundred and sixty sticks of dynamite were used.

The dam has been a paradise for poachers, who at night seined the imprisoned fish, requiring the constant presence of wardens. There is widespread rejoicing among fishermen, whose industry was threatened with extinction, and the anglers, who look for better angling the coming season.

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