Each October Jim Hutchins counts salmon in Bear Creek in downtown Medford, Oregon at three locations.  Counting began October 1, 2011 and Jim saw 2 jack salmon.  With rains forcast this next week, more  fish should start moving upstream.  The highest count is usually between October 15 to October 20.  Below is a link to Jim counting fish in 2009.

Notes on fish surveys

Salmon are currently in Bear Creek; the best place to see them is near the McAndrews bridge at the Rogue Valley Mall.  We’re hoping for rain; the creek is very low right now. No salmon have been counted in the Illinois River yet. (Oct. 15)

Salmon counts in Bear Creek and the Illinois River were strong in 2011. Bear Creek returns were above average, while the Illinois River counts were the third highest since I have been counting. Our highest year was 2003. Several above average size Chinook were viewed at both Bear Creek and the Illinois River, exceeding 30 pounds. Counts are done the month of October. There are done at three check points in each stream.

October, 2012 saw a steady increase in Chinook salmon counted on both Bear Creek and the Illinois River. Spawning occurred in wide spread sections of both streams, which can be an indicator of healthy, sustainable runs.

In 2014 and 2015 we saw the largest runs yet in Bear Creek in downtown Medford. The spawning activitiy was widespread from below the mall to downtown Ashland.  The counts in the Illinois River were not extremely high, but it was a solid count, showing sustainability.  Bear Creek in downtown Medford had the 4th highest salmon count since 1994 in 2017.  Counts on the Illinois were about average.  Counts in both 2016 and 2017 were above average.  See chart below for yearly counts.

               BEAR CREEK                               ILLINOIS RIVER

              Year      Total                               Year         Total

              1994       10                                  2003          400  

              1995     144                                  2004          373

              1996       27                                  2005          136

              1997       26                                  2006          135

              1998       17                                  2007            77

              1999         4                                  2008            63

              2000     146                                  2009          136

              2001       65                                  2010          156

              2002     158                                  2011          254

              2003     283                                  2012          334

              2004       59                                  2013          431

              2005       70                                  2014          161

              2006    162                                   2015          190

              2007       77                                   2016          104* Not accurate because of high water in Illinois R

              2008       17                                   2017          135

              2009       78                                

              2010     101

              2011     109

              2012     115

              2013     125

              2014     404

              2015     321

            2016    187

           2017     234