HAIKU MONDAY: On Rogue ‘Nooks, Water and The Spike That Was Not

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where the good fishers of Gold Beach are getting a few extra days of good fall chinook salmon success thanks to a biologist slow-playing his water cards this week at Lost Creek Lake.

The spike of water scheduled for release Sunday into the Rogue River didn’t materialize..on purpose.

So say Thank You, Gold Beach, to Pete Samarin.

No spike of water/Means ‘nooks stay in the Rogue bay./Get popped by locals.

For you Haiku Monday virgins, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors, with some bad versions of old Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick.

So, here’s the skinny on the low Rogue flows.

Each Aug. 10, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife orders a spike of water release from Lost Creek Lake to draw migrating fall chinook salmon out of the Lower Rogue Canyon where they are susceptible to warm water-related illnesses in August. The spike cools the river, triggering the upstream migration to cooler wates in the middle Rogue..

For Gold Beachers, them’s fighting words. Freshwater temps in the mid-70s keep Rogue-bound chinook in the cooler waters of the estuary, where anglers troll anchovies and whack ‘em pretty good. The spike, however, draw those fish out of the estuary, killing that fishery.

Instead of just turning on the faucet, Samarin — the ODFW fish biologist who weighs in for the agency on water releases — decided to wait this week.

Regular survey seining of the Rogue at Huntley Park shows that the chinook aren’t heading upstream out of the bay much yet. Instead of cranking up the out-flows, he decided to wait until the chinook start showing up at Huntley Park in decent numbers.

Hands off the faucet./Gold Beachers playtime rolls on./More ‘nooks in the boat.

Huntley Park gets netted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday during late summer. Today’s pull showed very few chinook.

So no artificial drop to Rogue water temps.

But what Samarin gives, the weatherman may taketh away.

Air temps forecast for 81 degrees Tuesday in Medford means the water could cool the Rogue a few degrees on its own. That would trigger those chinook that it’s time to leave the bay and get inland.

When they do, Samarin will order the spike and the chinook playground shifts from the estuary to the middle Rogue.

GP’ers will get their fish soon./’Nooks are coming on their own./Say “bye” to beach..

Gonna wait for the spikedidn’t

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  • Blog Author

    Mark Freeman

    I've underachieved as the Mail Tribune's Fish Hack since 1989. I can't help but find a few things to yuk about with pathetic regularity in the outdoors. My most treasured award? An OSHA citation for a messy desk -- Fire hazard. YEAH! Read Full
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