Warmer air, water affect trout-stocking schedule

Warming air and water temperatures have led state fish managers to cancel planned releases of hatchery-bred rainbow trout scheduled this month for Jackson County's Expo Pond and Lake Selmac in Josephine County.

Selmac was set to get 3,000 legal-sized trout this past week, and 1,500 similarly sized trout were set for the pond at The Expo in Central Point.

Some of those trout will go instead into Howard Prairie Reservoir later this month and into the far upper Rogue River upstream of Lost Creek Lake, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Spaulding Pond near Cave Junction also will be stocked with additional trout next week, according to ODFW.

Lake Selmac and Expo Pond are shallow reservoirs that tend to warm quickly and intensely in the spring. The water at Lake Selmac was 70 degrees Monday, almost 20 degrees higher than ideal for trout.

Agate Lake off Highway 140 near White City is another reservoir plagued by warm water, so the agency does not even bother scheduling late spring trout releases there.

ODFW still hopes to stock Lake Selmac just before Free Fishing Weekend on June 1-2. The lake hosts Josephine County's lone Free Fishing Weekend event.

Recycled springers flow back into Rogue River

An early glut of Rogue River spring chinook salmon reaching Cole Rivers Hatchery has crews recycling excess fish back into the river.

Technicians on Thursday trucked and released 700 excess spring chinook into the Rogue at Gold Hill, giving anglers another shot at catching and keeping them.

After Tuesday's collection, 1,204 spring chinook had reached the hatchery collection pond. That's three times more fish than the 10-year average for this week, and almost 50 percent more than last year's tally of 852 springers by this week in May.

Halibut fishing dates set by state commission

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has set the fishing dates and quotas for Pacific halibut off the Oregon Coast.

This year's all-depth fishing days again are in three-day blocks, with the next one having begun May 16 and running through Saturday. The next all-depth days are set for May 30 to June 1 and June 6-8.

More days could be added depending upon the catch poundage.

The summer all-depth fishery will run in two-day blocks beginning Aug. 2-3.

The all-depth days are the most desired by halibut anglers because they can venture into the deeper, more halibut-rich waters off the Central Coast.

The South Coast fishery opened May 1 and will run through October without any poundage quota.

This year's fishing days and quotas are nearly identical to last year's halibut season off the Oregon Coast.

For details of the halibut seasons, see ODFW's marine program website at www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP.

Take a Vet Fishing Day set for May 18

The Middle Rogue Steelheaders fishing group will hold its fourth annual Take a Vet Fishing Day at Lost Creek Lake on Saturday, May 18.

About 50 veterans are expected to take part in the event, which is the Grants Pass-based group's way of saying thanks to vets for their service.

Veterans will be matched with boats manned by club members, as well as a few nonclub members.

A weigh-in and prizes for vets will take place. They will be served breakfast and have a barbecue dinner.

The event has enough veterans and volunteers, but the steelheaders could use cash donations to offset the club's cost for the event, says club President Maynard Flouhag.

"We try to make sure everyone leaves with at least something," Flouhag says.

To make donations, call Flouhag at 541-324-1441.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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