Oregonians in the southern part of the state have a unique wildlife viewing opportunity to watch fall Chinook salmon spawn in local rivers. Peak spawning is now through mid-December depending on the river.
Practice good wildlife viewing etiquette by watching from a short distance without disturbing the fish or walking on redds (nests). Binoculars can be handy. Note that viewing conditions can be limited after rainstorms, but water usually clears within a few days.
These locations all offer excellent viewing:
Late October/early November is peak fall Chinook spawning season.
- South Umpqua River at the Roseburg Visitor’s Center; Happy Valley Boat Ramp in Green; Lower Cow Creek (Douglas County Road 39) and Stanton Park in Canyonville.
- Umpqua River at Myrtle Island in Tyee.
Coho salmon spawn in late November through early December. Moderate to difficult walking along these tributaries will reward viewers:
- South Umpqua River at Deer Creek (Roseburg), Myrtle Creek, and the Upper South Umpqua below Tiller. Island Creek Day Use Area and Long Fibre Park on Cow Creek are also excellent.
- North Umpqua River at Little River along Highway 138.
- Umpqua River at Dean Creek, Scholfield Creek, Paradise Creek, Weatherly Creek, Brush Creek, Calapooya Creek, and Wolf Creek.
- Smith River at West Fork Smith River; North and Sisters creeks; North Fork Smith River; and Spencer Creek on BLM lands.
Fall Chinook spawn late October through mid-December with peak spawning in mid-November. Best viewing areas include:
- West Fork Millicoma River beginning with the Millicoma Interpretive Center near Allegany. The center is wheelchair accessible and kid-friendly. For the next few miles upstream, many spawning areas are visible from a vehicle.
- The mouth of Glenn Creek about six miles upriver from Allegany.
- Tioga Creek which can be accessed from Middle Creek Road above Fairview.
- LaVerne Park on the North Fork Coquille River. Salmon are seen in the swimming hole area and jumping at the falls. They also can be seen spawning above the boulder weirs just upriver from the upper park boundary.
- Frona Park on the East Fork Coquille River near Dora.
- Baker Creek gravel bar/access site on the South Fork Coquille River.
- Daniels Creek Road, along the last few miles of paved road before it turns to gravel.
Coho salmon spawning peaks in December in the Coos River system. In the Coquille River system, coho spawning peaks in late December to early January. Coho can be seen spawning at the following locations:
- Millicoma Interpretive Center.
- Marlow Creek. One mile past Allegany, turn left onto County Road which eventually turns into State Forest Road 1000. Salmon can be seen from a vehicle.
- LaVerne Park.
- East Fork Coquille River above the mouth of China Creek, about three miles upriver of Dora.
- Steel Creek, a tributary of East Fork Coquille River at Dora.
- Middle Creek above the fish ladder, about two miles upstream from the BLM's Middle Creek Recreation Site. Spawning salmon can be seen from a vehicle.
- Moon Creek about three miles upriver of LaVerne Park. Salmon can be seen spawning on gravel trapped by logs placed during fish habitat improvement projects as part of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds.
Rogue Valley: Fall chinook spawn early October through early January. Peak viewing is October through November.
- Bear Creek off the Pine Street Bridge and downstream of the pedestrian bridge at Railroad Park in Central Point; by the Rogue Valley Mall (McAndrews Road bridge) near Hawthorne Park, and other locations on the Bear Creek Greenway.
- Valley of the Rogue State Park. Look for spawning salmon on shallow gravel bars.
- Rogue River at the Reinhart Park pedestrian bridge in Grants Pass.
Cantrall Buckley Park on the Applegate River. Peak viewing is late October through November.