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Boost in Lost Creek flows to Rogue started Friday

I’m a fisherman on the Rogue River, and I’m waiting for the fall chinook salmon to start showing up in the Grants Pass area. But they won’t move upstream until the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife jacks up the water flows out of Lost Creek Lake. When are they going to do that? Usually the flows go up by now, right?

Jim, Rogue River

Well, Jim, your question came to Since You Asked Central not two emails after one from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that Lost Creek Lake releases to the Rogue were going up 150 cfs at 8 a.m. last Friday, Aug. 10, to 1,750 cubic feet per second.

The bump in flows was built into the summer release schedule by ODFW in anticipation of fall chinook moving out of tidewater and hustling up the Rogue. The extra water is to cool the river off a bit in the Lower Rogue Canyon and lower the risk of warm water diseases breaking out there as the chinook move through.

Some years the spike in flows is earlier or later than when the chinook start moving. But this year, it was spot-on, says Pete Samarin, the ODFW fisheries biologist who works with the Corps and other agencies on water-release strategies in the Rogue Basin.

ODFW netters at Huntley Park just east of Gold Beach captured and released 56 adult fall chinook last Wednesday, the first real pulse of salmon out the bay, Samarin says. So the timing is impeccable.

“When does that ever happen?” Samarin says.

Apparently not that often.

This year’s fall chinook run is supposed to be a doozy, with 130,000 fish forecast past Huntley Park. Let’s hope a couple find their way to your barbecue, Jim.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.