Kids looking to test-drive trout fishing are invited to a Grants Pass public pond Saturday for an event to get them hooked on angling.

Kids looking to test-drive trout fishing are invited to a Grants Pass public pond Saturday for an event to get them hooked on angling.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is hosting a free fishing event for kids at the Reinhart Volunteer Park Pond.

ODFW staff and volunteers from the Crater Bass Club will be on hand with about 60 loaner rods and plenty of bait to help kids catch rainbow trout stocked in the pond especially for them, says Brent Crowe, an ODFW fish habitat biologist who is overseeing the event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The program is the only one of its kind in the Rogue Valley under the state's Youth Angling Enhancement Program, Crowe says. The program sets aside money specifically for trout stocking that targets kids — especially urban kids who might normally not get exposed to fishing.

The agency used to host a similar event in the spring at Whetstone Pond on the Denman Wildlife Area, but catch rates by the kids were so low that it was discontinued.

ODFW plans to stock rainbow trout in the pond this week for the event, but agency biologists are a bit coy on when those fish will be stocked to keep adult anglers from catching too many before the kids get their shot at them.

The Reinhart Pond already was already with 900 rainbow trout earlier this year.

Kids under age 14 can fish for free, while juvenile licenses are required for anglers under age 18. All regular fishing regulations apply. Reinhart Volunteer Park is off Lincoln Road.

The Oregon Hunters Association's State Convention returns to Southern Oregon for the first time in eight years when the state's largest hunting organization convenes May 15 at the Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville.

The convention is the 28th annual event for the OHA and it will be hosted by the group's Josephine County Chapter, which is based in Grants Pass.

The convention begins with a 1 p.m. general membership meeting that will be followed at 5 p.m. by the beginning of the annual fundraising dinner and auction.

Auction highlights include an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Access & Habitat Statewide Deer Tag, which is good for a three-month season nearly anywhere in Oregon. Also up for auction are African safaris, a New Zealand red stag hunt and myriad other hunting and fishing trips, wildlife art and outdoor equipment.

Those who would like to bid on the Statewide Deer Tag and international hunts but are unable to attend the event may call the OHA state office in Medford at 541-772-7313 by May 13 to arrange to bid by telephone.

Previous conventions have sold out early. For information and ticket packages, visit or call the OHA state office.

When it comes to sturgeon on the Columbia River, fishing that becomes too good often goes away.

That's the case with sturgeon anglers who have flocked to a shallow Columbia slough loaded with sturgeon, which has led to a fishing closure there.

Beginning today, anglers will be banned from the slough at Rooster Rock State Park so anglers there will not catch too much of the sturgeon quota set aside for a 100-mile stretch of the mainstem Columbia upstream of the Wauna powerlines.

The closure, which was agreed upon by fishery managers from Oregon and Washington, will run through July 31. The closed area runs from the upper and lower ends of Sand Island along the Oregon shoreline.

The entire area's quota is 4,835 sturgeon this year, but fishery managers estimate that about 1,700 sturgeon have already been caught this year and that most of them have come from this one slough.

Sturgeon have been congregating in enormous schools in the slough, and hundreds of anglers have been fishing there daily.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail