Derbies to raise funds for fish hatchery

Two steelhead-fishing derbies — one on Oregon's Chetco River and the other on Northern California's Smith River — are planned in February and March as fundraisers for a private fish hatchery operating in the Smith River basin — the last of its kind in California.

The two-day derbies are long-time benefits for the Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery, which releases 100,000 winter steelhead and fall chinook smolts annually into the Smith tributary called Rowdy Creek.

It is the last privately owned hatchery producing salmon and steelhead in California.

In each derby, anglers break into four-person teams. Two members of each team fish with a guide one day on the Chetco and another day on the Smith.

Catch-and-release fishing is encouraged, and organizers say more than 80 percent of the steelhead are released.

The so-called "Chopper Derby" and "Hank 'Raider' Derby" are named after Chopper and Hank Westbrook, who organized the first Cal-Ore Derby.

The Chopper Derby starts Feb. 17 with a fundraising dinner. Fishing is scheduled for Feb. 18-19.

The Hank "Raider" Derby starts March 3 with a dinner, and fishing is on March 4-5.

Each event costs $750 per person, which includes meals.

For more information and entry forms, visit the website at or call 707-218-5717.

'Pram Man' reaches his goal — Lost Creek Lake to the sea

The Rogue River's unofficial "Pram Man" oared into the town of Gold Beach on Friday, completing his 157-mile float down the Rogue River in an 8-foot metal boat.

"It's doable," says Casey Roland, 46, of Ashland, "You can run from Lost Creek Lake to the ocean in an 8-foot pram."

Over the years, several people have made the journey from Lost Creek Dam to the Pacific, usually by raft or kayak and always portaging around the 106-year-old Gold Ray Dam near Gold Hill.

That dam was removed this summer and boating traffic was allowed through the demolition area Oct. 15.

Roland says his research showed no one has boated that stretch in a pram — a small dingy about half the size of a conventional driftboat — so he set out New Year's Day to be the first.

Ten days into his journey, high water and pending storms forced him to suspend his journey partway through the Lower Rogue Canyon. But he returned Jan. 25 and, while shadowed by a friend in a raft, finished the trek to the sea four days later.

Fisheries council seeks nominees for state panel

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is accepting nominations from people interested in serving on the Pacific Fishery Management Council, which sets sport and commercial fishing policies and seasons along the West Coast.

The regional, at-large seat is currently held by Rod Moore, a former Congressional representative from Alaska who now lives in Portland and works for a seafood processing trade association.

Moore's second three-year term will expire in August.

ODFW is looking to forward the names of three potential candidates to Gov. John Kitzhaber's office, which in turn will send nominations to NOAA-Fisheries and the Department of Commerce.

The PFMC is one of eight regional fishery-management councils created by Congress to manage fisheries in federal waters from three miles offshore to 200 miles offshore.

Appointment to the seat will be conditional until an extensive FBI background investigation has been favorably completed.

Interested people have until Wednesday, Feb. 16, to contact Cyreis Schmitt or Gway Kirchner at 541-867-4741 or by e-mail at or

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

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