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Willow Lake boat ramp is open during the winter this year

Southern Oregon anglers have a new winter fishing opportunity at an old waterbody.

The Willow Lake boat ramp will be open during the day this winter, giving trout anglers a chance to gain access to this little-used lake off Highway 140.

The Jackson County Parks Department has agreed to open the gate to the county park boat ramp between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for access this winter, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The lake was not stocked with rainbows this fall, but it did get a complement of legal-sized rainbows, as well as 500 trophy trout, last April and May.

"I'd expect there would still be some good numbers of holdovers for people to have fun with," says Dan VanDyke, ODFW's Rogue District fish biologist. "It's another nice opportunity."

Willow Lake is open year-round, but access has been a problem this past year after the concessionaire who operated the county-owned ramp and campgrounds chose not to renew his contract with Jackson County.

Oregon boaters looking to break in the new year on the water have two options to get their boat registrations renewed in time to do so.

Boaters can renew their registrations online or through local agents and get a temporary permit that will keep boats legal until the permanent registration sticker arrives by mail, according to the Oregon State Marine Board.

To apply online, see www.boatoregon.com and click on the "renew online now" link on the main page.

Type in your certificate number and the PIN sent to you earlier this month with the registration-renewal notice.

Then follow the steps, pay by credit card and print out your online receipt, which serves as a boating permit for 30 days.

The $5 Aquatic Invasive Species Program fee has already been added to your fee total, as outlined in the renewal notice.

Elk River anglers are being asked their two-cents' worth on how they would like to see the boat launch and parking lot rebuilt at the Elk River Hatchery.

Anglers are asked to take an online survey for input on two designs for various improvements at the hatchery.

Anglers will be asked basic questions such as what type of boat and vehicles they use there, whether they hire shuttle services and where they park at the hatchery, which is the main access point for driftboaters on this popular Curry County river.

The online survey can be taken at http://dfw.state.or.us/fish/local_fisheries/elk_river/boat_parking_survey.asp.

Paper copies are available at the hatchery through March 31, the end of the steelhead season on the Elk.

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