The fall chinook run on the Rogue River is coming to an end, and so far Siskiyou Project ecologist Rich Nawa has found plenty of salmon leaping at the falls and spawning on the Applegate River, which means you are probably in for a treat when you join him or Lesley Adams of Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center for guided hikes to Rainie Falls.
The hikes offer opportunities to increase your knowledge of salmon and the conditions that dictate their survival.
In August, the chinook turn away from the ocean where they have grown fat and powerful over three or more years and return to the rivers where they hatched to spawn and die.
"The salmon bring a huge amount of the ocean's resources back to fresh water," says Nawa. "We fish for them when they are still shiny and strong. As they deteriorate after spawning, they become a feast for wildlife; as they decompose, they fertilize the riverbeds.
"Like (playing) the stock market, the salmon do not put all their eggs in one basket," says Nawa, who has been watching spawning activity below Applegate Dam since early October.
On Sunday, he'll lead a tour to Fish Hatchery Park, between Wilderville and Murphy, to view salmon preparing redds (spawning beds). The tour starts at 1 p.m. and will be followed by an optional hike to Rainie Falls from 2:30 to 5 p.m. On Nov. 1 and Nov. 9, Siskiyou Project salmon hikes move to Forks Park and Little Falls on the Illinois River. For information and directions, visit www.siswkiyou.org or call Nawa at 476-6648.
On Saturday, Lesley Adams of KS Wild will lead a hike to Rainie Falls. Carpools will form at 9 a.m. in Ashland's Shop 'N Kart parking lot (2268 Ashland St.) for travel to the Rainie Falls trailhead. For information, visit www.savethewildrogue.org or call Lesley at KS Wild, 488-5789.