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Halibut anglers will get more time on the water this year

Oregon halibut anglers will enjoy slightly more fishing opportunities this spring and summer thanks to a 12-percent increase in the harvest quota set by the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

The popular central coast halibut fishery from Cape Falcon just north of Manzanita to Humbug Mountain near Port Orford will open inside the 40-fathom line May 1 and stay open daily through Oct. 31 — or until the 13,800-pound quota is met.

The separate all-depth fishery, when anglers can travel past the 40-fathom line to deep, halibut-rich waters, will come in three-day packages set around weekends. Those fixed spring dates are May 12-14, 26-28, June 2-4 and 9-11.

If any of the spring quota of 115,578 pounds remains, more all-depth dates will be added. Those backup days are June 23-25, July 7-9 and July 21-23. Any quota left after those dates will be rolled into the summer season.

The summer season begins in August and remains open every-other Friday and Saturday through Oct. 29. Those dates are Aug. 5-6, Aug. 19-20, Sept. 2-3, Sept. 16-17, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Oct. 14-15 and Oct. 28-29. That fishery will end once the entire all-depth quota of 158,705 pounds is taken.

South of Humbug Mountain, the season opens May 1 and is open seven days a week through Oct. 31.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission set the seasons last week during a teleconference that made up for a March 11 meeting in Florence that was canceled because of the tsunami.

The Rogue Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has a new format and location for its annual fundraising dinner and auction. Held each spring, the event raises money for projects that improve wildlife habitat.

The event will have a more family-friendly format, with special kids' packages available. The fundraiser will be held April 9 at the Medford National Guard Armory, 1701 N. Pacific Highway in Medford.

Doors open at 3 p.m. for a social hour that includes vendor displays, drawings, raffles and games, as well as refreshments and a silent auction. A steak dinner will be served at 6 p.m., followed by a live auction.

For more information and ticket packages, call Matt Dunbar at 541-282-1405 or Steve Straughan at 541-878-3699. They also can be reached by email at mdunbar@ws-bp.com or straughan1942@embarqmail.com.

The RMEF has worked to protect or enhance wildlife habitat on 5.9 million acres nationally, including more than 31,000 acres in Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties.

In Oregon, the foundation has taken part in 662 projects that have enhanced almost 700,000 acres, according to the chapter.

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