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It's a jump-start to fall trout fishing

Rogue Valley lakes and ponds are in the midst of receiving their annual fall infusion of fresh rainbow trout to wet the lines and whet the appetites of area anglers.

Several water bodies were stocked last week and more are set to be fed next week with a mix of 8-inch, legal-sized rainbows and a cluster of larger, heavier trout in the 1-pound range.

The fish are purchased annually from the private Desert Springs Hatchery in Eastern Oregon under a program begun in 2010 by the Oregon Legislature.

"This is a really nice jump-start to trout fishing in the fall," says Dan VanDyke, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Rogue District fish biologist. "This is pretty popular."

Next week's stocking will include Agate Lake and Expo Pond, the two main urban fishing destinations in the Medford area.

Agate, off Highway 140, will get 100 large trout and 1,000 legals. Expo Pond, off Peninger Road at the Jackson County Expo, will get 100 large trout and 500 legals.

The stocking is tentatively scheduled for Monday, but that could change, VanDyke says.

In Josephine County, the stocking next week will consist of 200 large trout and 1,000 legals for Lake Selmac near Selma and 100 large trout and 250 legals for Reinhart Park Pond.

Last week, on Wednesday and Thursday, Hyatt, Howard Prairie and Applegate lakes each received 200 large trout of about a pound apiece and 1,000 legal-sized trout.

Many that aren't caught in the fall will turn into nice holdover trout for next year's fisheries, VanDyke says.

Howard Prairie also received 16,000 fingerlings that are expected to boost fishing opportunities there next year.

This is the third and perhaps final time lakes such as Expo Pond, Hyatt and Howard Prairie will get this extra dose of fall trout. The Legislature has not funded this private stocking program after 2012, VanDyke says.

The Medford Rifle and Pistol Club will hold its monthly Steel Challenge pistol-shooting match Sunday, Oct. 14, which gives shooters a chance to improve their speed and accuracy in a competitive environment.

The match will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the Jackson County Sports Park range off Kershaw Road near White City.

Speed steel consists of five stages with five runs of five shots on steel targets 15 to 30 yards away. The goal is to shoot as fast as you can without any misses.

Participants will shoot each stage five times, then throw out the low score and average the other four for a final score. The winner is the one who shoots the lowest overall time of the day.

Holsters are not required.

For information on the event and the club, see www.mrpc.info.

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