Salmon and much more along the Rogue River

Last weekend I hiked down to Rainie Falls on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River to watch salmon make their always impressive upstream migration. Myself, a friend and numerous “fish-watchers” were not disappointed.

Hiking down to falls would be a worthwhile endeavor even without the reward of Rainie Falls. The trail, at times rough, yet easily manageable, traverses along a steep cliff and provides excellent views of the river and rapids below along with great down canyon vistas.

Often the trail is shrouded by Pacific Madrone which provide many vibrant colors with its mulit-colored peeling bark. You also may notice a nice eucalyptus-like scent along the trail provided by Oregon Myrtle trees (which can be used to cook with instead of a bay leaf – just use less as it packs more punch). On our way down to the falls we saw Osprey dive into the water and fly off with their catch!

Upon arriving at the falls we were immediately greeted by salmon working their way upstream. Every couple of minutes a fish would jump up the falls in a stunning display of persistence, power and agility.

The small crowd would gasp in awe when one of the larger fish emerged like a rocket out of the foamy waters. I was able to snap a few photos of this awesome display; which proved elusive until I used my digital camera’s “burst” feature (taking a number of shots in row while holding the button down), sometimes holding the button down for over a minute at a time.

While fish were the focus of the adventure there is a lot more to experience. We watched another portion of the food chain as a heron feed on small fish just below the falls. Upstream we watched a river otter swim around in calm waters, diving occasionally, likely for its dinner. Just off the trailhead and on the way home we saw a group of wild turkeys and last but not least a number of deer both young and old.

Take a trip down to Rainie Falls if you can in the next few weeks and you will be glad you did!

You would think a gem like this would already have permanent protection, but that is not the case.

American Rivers, along with an alliance of other conservation groups, associations and businesses (the Wild Rogue Alliance) is working to permanently protect this stretch of the Rogue River. Most people believe the area around Rainie Falls is permanently protected, but the truth is only a narrow ribbon of land along the river enjoys permanent protection.

The Wild Rogue Alliance wants to protect the cold, clean water and habitat provided by the Rogues tributaries. If you would like to support this effort, visit the Wild Rogue Alliance website where you can sign a petition as an individual or have your business sign up in support.