The Rogue River is widely known for its salmon runs and whitewater rafting. It's a scenic area of rough canyons and white waters that flows 215 miles through the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean. With its origins beginning near Crater Lake, a caldera lake left by the eruption of Mount Mazama over 7,700 years ago, it flows through the Cascades west to the Klamath Mountains through many small towns on its journey to the Pacific Ocean. The Rogue runs through rock formations and canyons created by volcanic activity and lava flows. It has a scenic beauty that leaves one in awe of the power of Mother Nature.
The Rogue River valley has been inhabited by people for at least 8,500 years. The Native Americans who inhabited this land, were eventually invaded by European settlers, causing a deadly war between the two, known as the Rogue River Wars of 1855-1856. The Native Americans were eventually moved to reservations outside the river basin. Settlers then began to move into the remote areas of the basin and establish small farms along the river between Grave Creek and the mouth of the Illinois River.
Over the years many dams were built along the Rogue to control river flows for the farming communities, causing a lot of controversy for more than a century, mostly from salmon fishermen who claimed the fish ladders were inadequate. To show their disapproval of the dams, one of the early dams, known as Ament Dam, was even dynamited by salmon fisherman in 1912 in an attempt to restore the salmon run on the river. By 2009 only one dam, used for flood control, remained on the Rogue River. The Rogue is one of only three rivers in Oregon that start in or east of the Cascade Range and reach the Pacific Ocean. The other two are the Umpqua and Klamath rivers.
Although known for its major runs of steelhead and salmon, the Rogue is actually a year round fishery producing Chinook and Coho salmon, steelhead, brown trout, cutthroat trout, golden trout and catfish. The lower part of the river, near Gold Beach still produces sturgeon.
Chinook salmon and steelhead run in both the fall and spring producing one of the best fisheries in southern Oregon for these two fish. The Coho salmon make their annual run in the fall. The best spots to catch steelhead are between the areas known as Battle Bar and Johns Rapids. An amazing salmon hole is found just below Rainey Falls in Graves Creek. Although it is an area that requires a short hike, this is a great place to catch salmon on the Rogue.