I recently heard that the Butte Falls Hatchery has closed. They had a pond stocked with hatchery fish where you could go and teach your kids how to fish. Do you know of any other places like that where it is easy for kids to catch fish? Also, do you know if they ever plan to reopen or restock that pond?

I recently heard that the Butte Falls Hatchery has closed. They had a pond stocked with hatchery fish where you could go and teach your kids how to fish. Do you know of any other places like that where it is easy for kids to catch fish? Also, do you know if they ever plan to reopen or restock that pond?

Eric R., Medford

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife did better, Eric, than deciding to keep that small kids' fishing pond open. They decided to keep the hatchery open as well.

After initially expecting to close the hatchery during spring cuts to its proposed 2009-'11 budget, the ODFW was told it had to slash only 20 percent — not 30 percent — from its budget. That allowed the agency to find enough money to keep the 95-year-old hatchery with a few fish on hand for the pond.

Plans are to resume regular production there next year, when a four-year quarantine over a disease outbreak there will elapse.

Until then, senior technician Jim Grieve will remain as the hatchery's sole employee. He will continue to stock the small earthen pond for kids' fishing. The limit is five trout a day and no catch-and-release.

To get there, drive through Butte Falls. It's on the highway off the right side. Or ask anyone in town, because Butte Falls residents were very happy last month to hear their facility would remain open.

If that's too far to drive, Eric, then consider taking your kids to the Expo Ponds off Peninger Road. That pond is stocked regularly with trout, and also sports perch, bluegill and a few bass.

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