• Anglers step in and save teens' spring trout derby

  • A spring-break fishing derby for Rogue Valley teenagers will resume at Lost Creek Lake this month under a new partnership forged to keep local school kids interested in angling.
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  • A spring-break fishing derby for Rogue Valley teenagers will resume at Lost Creek Lake this month under a new partnership forged to keep local school kids interested in angling.
    International Trouters Society founder Dave Nadler will be joined by a crew of Ashland anglers in reconstituting Nadler's free Spring Break 16 Over/Under Derby on March 20, the start of spring break for about 30,000 Southern Oregon students.
    Jedediah Davis and his partners, who produce angling videos and a trout-season radio show, say they stepped up to help Nadler because they share his vision of helping kids enjoy the real outdoors instead of the virtual Xbox world.
    "We believe in what Dave's been doing," says Davis, 33. "I really believe in getting the kids unplugged and in the outdoors."
    Nadler says he's thrilled to find new partners for the derby.
    "They're raring to go, and I think they'll do a great job," Nadler says.
    After a six-year run, the 52-year-old Nadler suspended the tournament last year after undergoing neck surgery and had to drop the tournament this year for good because he hasn't regained strength in his arms.
    Nadler called his derby the Spring Break 16 Over/Under Derby because anglers younger than 16 tried to catch trout over 16 inches long to win prizes. The event brought in about 100 kids a year.
    A Feb. 18 article in the Mail Tribune's Oregon Outdoors section detailed Nadler's desire to find someone to pick up the mantle.
    Davis and his "crew" stepped in.
    Davis says the group films and produces segments for a fishing show called "Show Us Your Fishing Hole" that has yet to find a home on the airwaves. They also host a Sunday fishing show on KZZE radio in Medford from April through October, during the trout-fishing season.
    Davis and Nadler met Feb. 23 to hash out their new partnership.
    The derby will run again out of the Takelma boat-ramp area near Lost Creek dam.
    "I'm still involved in it, but now it looks like I'll be able to delegate the physical part of putting together the derby," Nadler says.
    "My plan is to have exactly the same thing — just new arms and legs," Nadler says.
    Registration and sign-ins are from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Participants begin fishing at 9 a.m. and stop by 4 p.m.
    Prizes will be awarded in several categories at the "Trout Central" tent. The Grand Prize winner — the first registered under-16 angler to catch a trout over 16 inches — will get his or her choice of prizes.
    Nadler says he's still trolling through the local sporting goods community in search of enough prizes to cover all the potential winners.
    "I like to go out there with 35 prizes, and we're not there yet," Nadler says. "We're still scrambling. There's only two weeks left, but we'll make it happen. We always do."
    The regular fishing rules, limits and licenses apply. Anglers aged 13 and younger can fish for free. A $9 juvenile license is required for anglers 14-17 years old.
    Also, participants who want to double their chances of winning can buy a newly offered $17 "two-rod" tag that allows holders to fish with two rods instead of one. The license is good in Lost Creek Reservoir, as well as other lakes and reservoirs outside of the Columbia River system.
    The daily trout limit at Lost Creek remains five trout at least 8 inches long, but only one of those can be more than 20 inches long.
    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.
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