Jackson County Sheriff's marine deputies this weekend will give boaters a chance to have their rigs checked on land rather than having their day on the water interrupted later.
The annual dry-dock inspections will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Jackson County Marine and Search and Rescue Headquarters, 620 Antelope Road, White City.
The inspections give fishing guides and other boaters a chance to get their crafts' safety features verified with the boat on the trailer instead of during an impromptu inspection by police on a river or lake this summer.
"We did close to 300 inspections on those two weekends last year," says Deputy Eric Johnson. "Those two weekends are a big deal for us."
Sheriff's deputies conduct more than 4,000 boat inspections annually, and those whose boats pass this weekend will get a green sticker telling deputies the boat's already been checked this year.
Boaters whose crafts fail the dry-dock inspections are simply told what items they need — such as better life jackets or a new state registration.
"If they have everything ready on hand, it probably takes five minutes," Johnson says. "If they have to dig around for stuff, obviously, it takes longer."
Different safety requirements are necessary for different-sized boats and motors. The requirements are printed in Oregon State Marine Board pamphlets and are listed on the Marine Board's website at www.boatoregon.com.
Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary also will be present to conduct inspections on boats used in coastal waters, Johnson says.
Cole Rivers Hatchery's stocking trucks will get their first good workout of the new year next week as several local waterways get fresh complements of legal-sized rainbow trout for upcoming spring fisheries.
The largest stocking next week from the upper Rogue River hatchery will be at Lost Creek Lake, which will receive 25,000 rainbows 8-plus inches long on Wednesday. The releases will be divided between the marina at Stewart State Park and the Takelma boat ramp.
On Monday, Reinhart Pond in Grants Pass will receive 300 trout, Willow Lake will get 4,750 trout and Expo Pond will get 1,400 rainbows.
On Tuesday, Lake Selmac will get 5,000 rainbows and Emigrant Lake will receive 3,500 trout.
After this week's releases, the normal spring and summer schedule will begin, says Dave Pease, the hatchery's assistant manager.
"This is the start of it all," Pease says. "We did some coastal lakes last week, but nothing like this."
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife publishes its trout-stocking schedule on its website at www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/trout_stocking_schedules.
A host of local fly-fishing organizations have joined Cascade Christian High School's Fly-Fishing Class in sponsoring a free Fly-Fishing Expo on March 19 in Medford.
The groups hope the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. expo will become an annual event for area angling enthusiasts to test-drive fly-fishing and fly-tying in a fun atmosphere.
The expo will be at Cascade Christian, 855 Chevy Way behind Airport Chevrolet in Medford.
Sponsors include the Rogue Flyfishers Association and Southern Oregon Flyfishers.
Visitors will be able to learn aspects of fly-tying and cast a spey rod inside the school gymnasium. Other equipment will also be available to try, and kids will have a special area to tie their first fly.
The local clubs will provide explanations of some of the various habitat-improvement projects they have undertaken for native salmon and steelhead stocks in the area.
Coffee and pastries will be available throughout the day, and lunch will include barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs.
Members of the Southern Oregon Fly Tyers club will highlight the art, as well as the practical side, of fly tying at Wednesday's meeting of the Medford-based Rogue Flyfishers Association.
The fly-tying club, composed of members of all skill levels from Medford, Grants Pass, Roseburg and Northern California, teaches tying classes that are sponsored by the Rogue Flyfishers.
The association's meeting begins at 6 p.m. with a social hour, followed by a buffet dinner and raffle at 7 p.m.
The club meets every third Wednesday at the Red Lion Hotel, 200 N. Riverside Ave., Medford.
For more information, visit the club's website at www.rogueflyfishers.org.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.