Saving money, making money with trout

Saving money, making money with trout

The spaghetti-like plastic strings on the backs of some rainbow trout heading next week to Lake of the Woods will help determine just how many trout this high-mountain lake can hold — without its boat ramps being stalked by a clipboard-toting creel checker all summer.

And U.S.S. Grant might find his way into your back pocket, just for your support.

State fish biologists have tapped Lake of the Woods as a test-water to see whether a new mark-and-recapture study that enlists....

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Springer season looks to rebound this year

Springer season looks to rebound this year

TRAIL — It took Chris Fite all of one cast to usher in this year's spring chinook salmon season on the upper Rogue River.
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Good time to start talking Tom

Good time to start talking Tom

LAKE CREEK — Perhaps the Southern Oregon outdoor fanatics who have fared best from the worst back-to-back drought years on record here are those who will be crouched against the base of an oak tree next week decked out in camo and holding shotguns.

Oregon's wild turkey hunters are poised to begin their popular spring season with plenty of birds on the ground and in their roosts this year thanks to very good nesting success during the past two very dry springs.

"We've had...

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Ocean salmon look plentiful off the Southern Oregon coast this year, but next year's a different story

Ocean salmon look plentiful off the Southern Oregon coast this year, but next year's a different story

Enough adult salmon are now finning off the Southern Oregon and Northern California coasts to give Brookings a good chance to repeat as Oregon's top port for boating chinook.

But the ever-changing ocean currents have to do their part.

Preseason estimates of chinook and fin-clipped coho salmon in the ocean are high enough that salmon anglers are on the cusp of seeing a summer saltwater salmon season nearly identical to 2014, when Brookings regained its spot as the top chinook port....

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Biologists and politicians taking turns with trout

Nature and politics are playing dual roles this spring on when and where Oregonians will be chasing trout from eight inches to eight pounds across the state, with both winners and losers expected.

A dearth of water in some reservoirs and record-low snowpack have state fish managers adjusting where and how they expect to stock hatchery rainbow trout for anglers headed into the second straight spring trout opener amid drought conditions.

It's the latest edition of the old adage...

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Winging it

Winging it

Blake Burwell arose in Norway one morning last June bent on adding a little spice to the increasingly tedious task of jumping off a 3,000-foot cliff.

"I woke up that morning and thought, let's try something new," says Burwell. "Normally, we just, you know, jump. But it just seemed like a good idea to have some friends join in."
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Trail to Charismatic Conifers

Trail to Charismatic Conifers

Those rare hikers who step past the Ides Cove Trailhead and enter Northern California's Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness Area immediately are greeted by the rock stars of the conifer world.

The trailhead is ringed by the southernmost stand of a subspecies of foxtail pine found only in the Klamath Mountains, a rare tree that can live 1,000 years or more in these hardscrabble mountains.
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Surf City

Surf City

As last week's warm rains pounded Southern Oregon, Medford's Ryan Allred and his gonzo kayak buddies of yore kept a close eye on the Bear Creek stream gauges to see whether Medford would once again turn into Surf City.

The normally staid and largely polluted creek is usually not much of an attraction for world-class kayakers, whose main obstacles are drowned shopping carts and escaping without a case of Hepatitis C.

But when the water roars like it did Saturday, Bear Creek's...

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Drone ban in ODFW crosshairs

Just as Oregon wildlife managers in 2002 were about to ban the increasingly popular electronic duck decoy dubbed "robo-duck," Ron Anglin watched a television show in which holograms of people were projected into the air.

Anglin's Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was five years late in banning the swimming and diving robo-ducks as a technological threat to hunting's fair-chase ethic here, and he didn't want a repeat of that mistake. So he added holograms to the list of big-game...

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Peepers, creepers and skulkers

Peepers, creepers and skulkers

ASHLAND — Kristi Mergenthaler strolls along the upper bank of Ashland's Clay Creek scanning the tree bark for a little, no-neck bird walking head-first down a tree trunk.

The Oredson-Todd Woods here are lousy with red-breasted nuthatches, but the tiny, pointy-billed birds are tough to see and only faintly heard.

"It kind of does a 'neep, neep, neep,' " Mergenthaler says. "Some people describe it as a little bugle. I like to think of it as the sound of a big truck backing...

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Early they come

Early they come

TRAIL — Technician Mitch Semrow had already sorted through close to 200 dark and ripe hatchery summer steelhead from the Rogue River at the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond when he grabbed something special.

"It stuck out like a sore thumb, basically," Semrow says. "It had the bulky winter build and it was really bright. Right away, I knew exactly what it was."
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Year of the crossbow?

Year of the crossbow?

Oregon's state senators and representatives next week will start dropping new bills in their chambers for the upcoming Oregon legislative session, and a host of hunters, especially bowhunters, will be combing through the pile in search of the C word.

They are expecting another legislative attempt to keep Oregon from remaining the only state to outlaw crossbows in regulated hunting seasons.

Despite their general approval and even skyrocketing interest throughout the Midwest...

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'Wild' about hiking

'Wild' about hiking

The popularity of Cheryl Strayed's memoir "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" has led to increased awareness and use of the trail that runs from Canada to Mexico through Washington, Oregon and California. There are more thru-hikers — people who, like Strayed, attempt to hike the entire trail — and more day and overnight users of this incredible national resource.

Now "Wild" has been made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern,...

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Lava Beds participates in annual bird count

Lava Beds National Monument will host the Tulelake Christmas Bird Count Sunday, Jan. 4, as part of the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count.

Since 1900 during the holiday season, citizen scientists throughout America have counted birds. The annual Christmas Bird Count provides reliable data that helps demonstrate the importance of national parks to birds.

Ashland is conducting its annual bird count Saturday, Jan. 3. Medford conducted its count on Dec. 20.

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Wild Bird Photo Contest winners capture stunning shots

Wild Bird Photo Contest winners capture stunning shots

Sitting on her back porch overlooking the Rogue River last spring, Christine Pitto was snapping her usual few hundred images when a male evening gosbeak with two young chicks appeared on one of her feeders.

She'd noticed in the past year of focusing on photographing birds that a surprisingly large number of males help feed their young and this particular dad had his wings full with this pair.
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Return of the pine siskins

Return of the pine siskins

Among all the jeeps, shrieks, coos and caws during last year's Christmas Bird Count, conspicuously absent was the incessant incessant wheezy chatter normally heard everywhere from backyard bird feeders to Ponderosa pine stands.

None of the 59 citizen scientists taking part in Medford's contribution to the national bird tally last Dec. 19 spied a single pine siskin.

The year before, 149 pine siskins reared their conical-beaked heads within the Medford count circle. But last year...

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Play local, pay local

Play local, pay local

'Tis the season to shop at the small boxes.

Rogue Valley outdoorsmen and women sure like to play local, and now's a good time to pay local, too, while checking off those gift lists and helping put some dead presidents in area cash registers.

Last year, Oregon Outdoors leaned on outdoor writers from across the Pacific Northwest to weigh in on what they thought was cool stuff for presents, and the ensuing list provided a slew of excellent offerings. But it was all stuff available...

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Grill-to-grill dining not an Oregon thing

After almost a year of allowing its citizens to dine on big-game animals struck and killed by cars, Montana officials consider its meals-under-wheels program a success.

Whether Oregon follows suit as the 38th state to allow its citizens to feast on their bumper crop of road-killed deer and elk is a bandwagon that Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife leaders won't jump on or off. 

"Our agency position has been ... whatever," says Ron Anglin, the ODFW's Wildlife Division...

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Fishing through readers' stream of consciousness

The mailbag can be a mixed bag of cheers and jeers when your readers weigh in on Outdoor Journal topics. Here are a few snippets that made their way through the spam filter.

Earth to Freeman:

How is it that you get to go fishing and call it work?

Everyone

Roughly one reader per week (and sometimes a boss) poses that question, and the answer is always the same. Being an outdoor writer in Southern Oregon is work. Maybe.....

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JPEG Moments

JPEG Moments

Submissions begin today for the 15th annual Oregon Outdoors Wild Bird Photo Contest.
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November 14, 2014

She's a Gem

November 07, 2014

Trail tenders

October 17, 2014

Scenic with a capital 'S'

September 26, 2014

Not by a long shot?

September 19, 2014

Ringing up ringtails

September 12, 2014

Letting go

August 22, 2014

Shoot Out!

August 15, 2014

Band of Doves

June 06, 2014

Green Skiing

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