MEDFORD, Ore. — Plentiful rain has created ideal water conditions and allowed spawning wild chinook salmon to spread across Oregon’s Bear Creek Basin and even into backyard creeks, biologist said.

Wild chinook have moved from the Rogue River into Bear Creek early and entered tributaries that haven’t seen the fish in years, the Mail Tribune reported ( ). Biologists said the coming storm front could even lead to the big chinook splashing in Medford’s Lazy and Larson creeks.

“They’ll probably be jumping at Emigrant Dam,” said Pete Samarin, a fish biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “I wouldn’t be surprised if people are saying there are fall chinook in Ashland Creek.”

Young, 5-inch-long chinook begin migrating down the Rouge toward the ocean in late summer and spend as long as five years living there before returning to the river to spawn in the fall.

Peak spawning isn’t until Halloween, so the city’s residents could see the large fish spawning for several weeks if the water flow remains cooperative.

“They’re so visible,” Samarin said. “You get two 20-pound males and 14-pound females splashing around and making a racket.”

Samarin said he’d like people to contact his office if they see the salmon in unexpected streams. “And please leave them alone,” he added.

Information from: Mail Tribune,

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