Lots of water, a dearth of ice, plenty of trout and a plethora of expectations await Oregonians who are ready to eschew this cold, wet spring of ours by ushering in a new trout-fishing season.
A host of inland water bodies open to angling in eight days, and conditions are better than most years when anglers head to the mountains in search of the fatted rainbow.
"We're getting good feedback from anglers fishing waters open now," says Dan VanDyke, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Rogue District fish biologist. "We have good water conditions. I expect fishing to be good right away at Hyatt and Howard Prairie lakes. So overall, I'm expecting us to have a very good opener."
About a quarter-million Oregonians will head to their favorite waters across the state April 23 for the traditional start of the spring trout-fishing season, which traditionally opens on the fourth Saturday of April.
Anglers who haven't drowned a worm at Hyatt or Howard Prairie lakes since Halloween will be back — and both lakes are ice-free and ready.
The Rogue and its tributaries upstream of Lost Creek Lake will open for fishing, and will be stocked weekly with fresh trout.
Also opening is the Jenny Creek system east of Ashland and the Ashland Creek forks upstream of Reeder Dam near Ashland.
Diamond Lake in eastern Douglas County also opens April 23, though it was locked under heavy snow and ice this week. With the ice likely to retain its thickness through the week, this is likely to be the third straight year when anglers use augers to drill holes and mine for trout like Minnesotans.
It also marks the second year when two ice holes are better than one — thanks to the $17 two-rod validation that became effective last year, allowing anglers to fish with two rods in lakes, reservoirs and ponds.
There are no substantive changes to angling regulations that fishers need to fret about in 2011.
In most instances, the daily trout limit of five fish over 8 inches long (but only one over 20 inches) remains intact.
And one of the great ironies about the opening of trout season here is that the Rogue Valley's signature waterway is closed for trout.
Rogue River anglers in spring target adult winter steelhead and spring chinook salmon, but they are banned from trout fishing to protect salmon smolts now abundant in the river.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.