Wheels in the wilderness

Wheels in the wilderness

Jace Ives has experienced some of Oregon's wildest places wearing running shoes and hiking boots.

Now a national organization wants Ives and others to get the chance to enter federally designated wilderness areas on mountain bikes, which have been banned along with other mechanized equipment in wilderness areas for more than three decades.

It's a conundrum for Ives, who recognizes that some wilderness areas are more wild than others and that some might be a good fit for trails...

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Unique among the 4.1 million

Unique among the 4.1 million

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — We wind our way through the Lamar Valley sage, fly rods in hand, doing our best to avoid the American bison baking in the unseasonably hot mountain air.

Three sets of wading boots trod through countless bison dust wallows as we hike upstream in search of Lamar River water untouched by other fly-fishers. Two mule deer dart out of a patch of brush we avoid because of its grizzly-ish features, then a coyote ambles past. More bison grunt...

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Battle for Yellowstone Lake

Battle for Yellowstone Lake

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Mike Finley traveled earlier this month from his Medford home to his old stomping grounds to fish for one of America's more treasured trout in one of its most picturesque places.

Native cutthroat trout in the streams of Yellowstone National Park, where Finely was park superintendent for seven years, were more than willing to take turns biting Finley's barbless flies floated on creek surfaces.

"I'd catch maybe 10 and leave the hole for the next...

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A loop with a view

A loop with a view

ASHLAND — Roxan Alforgue scratches intently into the forested hillside, sloughing the duff away to make room for a future footpath, and all the while missing the big picture.

That would be the incredible panoramic views on the peak of this new Lewis Loop Trail in the Ashland Watershed, which shows Mount McLoughlin over one shoulder and Mount Ashland over the other.

"I hope to get up there today and see it," says Alforgue, as the 16-year-old Northwest Youth Corps crew.....

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A friend for dinner

A friend for dinner

SHADY COVE — My driftboat hovers in a favorite upper Rogue River riffle in the shadows of a giant oak that houses a large nest rebuilt by two bald eagles after a windstorm ripped the bottom out of it.

It's a perfect metaphor to this year's fishing season on the upper Rogue, where an excruciating spring chinook season needs to give way to something new, something smaller, but definitely something better.

Just then the right-side rod bows to the water, pulsing with...

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Chetco motor ban proposal has Brookings abuzz

BROOKINGS — The running feud between bank anglers and driftboaters is raising hackles again, this time along the lower Chetco River about whether outboard motors are ruining the fishing experience or simply are a effective tool in the winter steelhead fishing trade.

A group of bank anglers have petitioned the Oregon State Marine Board to ban motors on the roughly 10 miles of the Chetco outside of tidewater where motors are legal.

At issue is whether driftboaters,...

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Tiger trout primed to pounce at Diamond

Diamond Lake is getting a dose of predatory trout that quite literally will be lying in the weeds while doing their part to keep invasive tui chub and red-sided shiners from robbing the lake of its top-drawer trout fishery.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife next week will stock the first hybrid tiger trout intended to prey on the unwanted invasives before they take hold in this eastern Douglas County lake.

Tiger trout are infamous for their boldness, willing to stalk...

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Trout rewards offered at Lost Creek

TRAIL — Lost Creek Lake trout anglers will get a chance to be citizen biologists, and possibly make some cash, during a new survey that will help determine what trout-stocking strategy works best for angling at Jackson County's largest and most popular lake.

Biologists at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife this week affixed spaghetti-like tags to the dorsal fins of 1,500 legal-sized trout and 162 14-inch "pounders" bound for the lake to determine which size trout is...

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Scouting the high ground

Scouting the high ground

APPLEGATE — Luke Ruediger hikes up a trail off the end of Forest Creek Road to a majestic field of spring wildflowers, and off in the distance is rugged Wellington Butte and the site of one Ruediger's new wild hairs.

In two weeks, he and hiking pal Josh Weber will pick their way through the rugged brush as they cross the untrailed Wellington Butte in hopes that one day other hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians can follow their footsteps in relative ease.

The pair....

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Spring chinook run likely late, lighter than 2015

SHADY COVE — Taking advantage of a rare mid-week day off in the construction business, Gee Romero wanted to make sure his upper Rogue River fishing trip with guide Charlie Brown would pay off.

By 7 a.m., it had. A 35-inch spring chinook salmon was in the boat. And to cap it off, it was one fin short of a full salmon.

"It was a big, bright, beautiful hatchery fish," says Romero, 26, of Medford. "When Charlie cut the fillets, they were just how you want them.

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Love of slacklining

Love of slacklining

Willie Love ratchets a 2-inch strap between two poles in The Commons park blocks in downtown Medford and prepares to re-enter a brave, new and wobbly world that has consumed him the past three months, feeding his need to be extreme and be seen.

"I like this spot because people rubberneck all the time," Love says. "Who doesn't like a little bit of attention?"

He bounces on the strap, which builds tension under his weight and launches him skyward until he bounces on one foot over...

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River-rat race

River-rat race

GOLD HILL — Pete Newport and his three rafting teammates have little trouble bombing down the Rogue River's Ti’lomikh Falls with the raft and crew remaining in the upright position.

But two teams in identical red, white and blue rafts bombing down the Class IV rapid as fast as they can? And at the same time?
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Test your upper Rogue fishing knowledge

Test your upper Rogue fishing knowledge

The upper Rogue River is too high and muddy today for anglers anxious to get their first good crack at winter steelhead and spring chinook that are now migrating through local fishing haunts.

So sitting around and talking about fishing on the upper Rogue is the logical fall-back for upper Rogue anglers who consider this 31-mile stretch of river as their home water.

But just how well do you know the upper Rogue and the angling rules that apply here? Here's a pop quiz to find...

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Siskiyou Mountain Club explores plans to repair foot bridges on the Illinois River Trail

Siskiyou Mountain Club explores plans to repair foot bridges on the Illinois River Trail

The Illinois River Trail snakes 28 miles through the spectacular backcountry of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area and across some of the most productive wild steelhead nurseries in North America — but the trail has some weak links.

The weakest link may very well be a 22-foot wooden bridge over Clear Creek Gorge. It's a tenuous span with rotted supports and missing guard rails, at risk of degrading to a point where it becomes the equivalent of a "No Trespassing" sign.

"You...

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Don't believe what you read on seafood menus

ASHLAND — I never imagined that a little bar food Saturday inside an Ashland dinner house would come with a floor show that broke barriers in both comedy and biology.

The house chef was buttering up the patrons next to us about his menu and just how incredible his suppliers are, especially when it comes to his salmon.
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Winter storms have dropped boating obstacles into the upper Rogue River

Winter storms have dropped boating obstacles into the upper Rogue River

A stretch of the Rogue River upstream of Dodge Bridge is known to old-timers as McGraw's after the former owner, while relative newcomers call it Duffy's after its current owner.

But upper Rogue driftboaters last week knew the reach as Impassable after this winter's high water moved the gravel around enough and plopped a few 100-year-old oak trees into it to create a new navigational hazard.

It's just one part of the upper Rogue altered by high water this winter, and it has...

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Monarch butterflies tagged last year in Southern Oregon found in California

Monarch butterflies tagged last year in Southern Oregon found in California

Robert Coffan stood next to a patch of milkweed at Coyote Trails Nature Center in Medford last September feeling a little choked up about all that had transpired to bring him and monarch butterfly No. A2045 to this point.
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Ragsdale's death puts focus on safety, communication

Brian Johnson had a break between his massage-therapy clients Monday when the trail-running jones sent him to Roxy Ann Peak to get in some mileage.

Impromptu solo runs on outlying trails are standard for distance runners who can become slaves to their training schedules, but Monday's run brought a new caveat into this equation for Johnson.

"This time, I texted my girlfriend and said, 'I'm going up Roxy for an hour, I'll text you when I get down,' " says Johnson, 39, of Central...

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Iffy ice: If you're going ice fishing, here's what you need to know

Iffy ice: If you're going ice fishing, here's what you need to know

It's a tragedy that Jackson County Sheriff's Sgt. Shawn Richards and his search-and-rescue staff train for regularly but haven't had to face in recent years — a winter angler falling through the ice.

"Knock on wood," Richards says from the Search and Rescue office in White City. "We train on ice rescues. However, it's a long way from the valley to high-mountain lakes."

Oregon's new streamlined angling regulations mean Hyatt and Howard Prairie now join Fish Lake,...

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Tiger trout to battle chubs in Diamond Lake

Tiger trout to battle chubs in Diamond Lake

Oh, what a difference a tui chub makes.

The discovery of a single tui chub in Diamond Lake in October — nine years after a $5.6 million eradication effort — has state fish managers going all in on an effort to keep history from repeating itself.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to stock as many as 25,000 fish-eating tiger trout in the eastern Douglas County lake this spring, and it will follow up with a crew literally working day and night next...

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January 08, 2016

Kicking and gliding

December 31, 2015

Gear and Beer

December 04, 2015

Ski swap goes 4 seasons

September 25, 2015

The Weyerhaeuser Experiment

September 04, 2015

Halibut in the Hood

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