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Upper Rogue sites due for trout stocking before Memorial Day

Despite high snow drifts and heavy runoff, rainbow trout will be stocked this week at key Prospect-area campgrounds in time for Memorial Day visitors.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stocking trucks will dump their trout loads at about half the stocking sites that make up the stretch of far upper Rogue in the Prospect/Union Creek areas of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Set for stocking of a total of 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout this week is Mill Creek Bridge at Prospect, the Mill Creek Campground, River Bridge Campground, Woodruff Bridge Campground, and Union Creek.

The rest currently are inaccessible because of snow.

At these locations, the stocking trucks stop and unload nets full of trout, which legally can be caught as soon as they hit the water.

Fishing with single salmon eggs, worms, small spinners and streamer flies are all popular forms of fishing for visitors who flock to this stretch of river upstream of Lost Creek Lake to escape Rogue Valley heat.

Normally, those fish tend to hang out in the areas where they are released. But the high runoff from an intense May snow melt could see those trout take a quick trip downstream.

"Certainly, that's going to be an issue," says Dan VanDyke, the ODFW's Rogue District fish biologist. "But we're going to try it. We want to have some fish available."

As soon as access is open, ODFW will stock rainbow trout in the following areas: Natural Bridge Campground, Farewell Bend Campground, Mt. Stella Bridge, Crater Creek, Highway 230 between the county line and Hamaker turn-off, Hamaker Campground, Minnehaha Creek and Foster Creek.

To make up for the lack of stocking, VanDyke says he hopes to boost regular weekly releases to these sites in June and July. This stretch of the far upper Rogue is stocked weekly with legal-sized trout from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

A series of larger "trophy trout" stockings, with fish about 16 inches long, are planned for after Labor Day.

A Jacksonville teen is headed back to a national championship to crown the best young bass-caster in the country.

For the second year, Jacob Wall, 14, will represent the Western Division in the CastingKids Championship put on by the BASS Federation Nation.

At a competition last weekend in Idaho, Wall tallied 140 points out of a possible 150 points to win the 11- to 14-year-old division.

He will compete for the national title during the BASS Federation Nation National Championship Nov. 3-8 at Milford Lake in Kansas.

The contest format calls for precision casting that imitates the three basic casts used in bass fishing, but contestants cast to bull's-eye targets on dry land instead of toward fish in lakes.

From 10 feet is the flip — a simple swing of the lead jig used for short-distance casts around docks and boat houses.

From 20 feet is the pitch — an extended swing used to pinpoint a jig around trees and other submerged structures frequented by bass. The caster holds the jig and pitches it forward, allowing it to free-spool line as it glides toward the target.

Lastly from 30 feet is the overhead cast — a snapping two-handed shot with the rod in the air.

The winter steelhead run into the upper Rogue River closed strongly in the past two weeks to end up slightly under average, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife statistics.

Counts at Gold Ray Dam near Gold Hill ended May 15 with 9,380 fish, largely due to about 500 fish moving past the dam's counting station in the first half of the month.

This year's count was down from last year's tally of 13,238 fish, which was just about average for the past 10 years, according to ODFW records.

The winter steelhead count has averaged 10,041 fish since records were first kept there in 1942.