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Howard Prairie to host ODFW event

Howard Prairie Resort will host a family fishing event Saturday that will be put on by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to give families a taste of fishing at Howard Prairie reservoir.

The free event will run from 9 a.m. to noon and include several activities focused on learning how to catch Howard Prairie's stocked rainbow trout.

The agency recently stocked 5,725 legal-sized trout and 400 larger trout averaging about two pounds apiece. The lake is also home to hold-over trout that were stocked as fingerling last fall.

Rods, reels, tackle and bait are provided, while volunteers and ODFW staff will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate angling techniques popular at the reservoir off Dead Indian Memorial Road east of Ashland.

Two 30-minute talks will be offered in a covered area at the marina. Learn about the birds of Howard Prairie at 10 a.m., and at 11 a.m., get trout fishing tips for the reservoir, including bait fishing from shore, trolling techniques and proper catch-and-release techniques.

Kids 11 and younger can fish for free, while those 12 to 17 and adults need a new $10 annual license good for hunting, fishing, and shellfishing. Only day licenses are sold at the resort.

All other angling rules apply.

Shady Cove chamber to host two-day salmon derby

City boosters will hold their annual spring chinook salmon-fishing tournament along the upper Rogue River this spring, but they're changing up the timing and format to jump-start participation.

The third annual Salmon Fever Festival will run May 21-22, and while fishing for spring chinook will remain the focal point, visitors and participants will have an art walk, wine testing and games with prizes.

The first two festivals were held in conjunction with June's Free Fishing Day, but organizers decided to part ways with that date because participants and vendors preferred to be at Free Fishing Day events with their kids instead of spending all day on the Rogue, says Sandra Marchand, secretary of the Shady Cove-Upper Rogue Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event.

After talking with operators of a successful two-day chinook derby on the ocean out of Brookings, "we thought we'd give it a try this year and see how it goes," she says.

Instead of a $1,000 prize for the largest hatchery chinook caught between Cole Rivers Hatchery downstream to Bybee Bridge at TouVelle State Park, the festival will offer $500 first-place prizes each day.

However, the festival will offer a single second-place prize of $250 for the next-heaviest heaviest fish caught during the two-day derby, and $150 for third place.

The $30 entry fee covers both days.

Participants may fish from the bank or from boats in any legal fashion. Weigh-ins will occur throughout the day at Jackson County Regional Park in Shady Cove, with the final weigh-in at 4 p.m.

For weigh-ins, all salmon must be cleaned and gilled. In case of a tie, the fish weighed first will be declared the winner.

Only fin-clipped hatchery fish may be kept now on the upper Rogue.

Registration can be completed through 5 p.m. May 20 online at shadycovechamber.org or at Sportsman's Warehouse in Medford, Jack's Fishin' Hole in Shady Cove, the Valero gas station in Shady Cove and at the chamber office in the Rogue River RV Park office in Shady Cove.

Free casting classes resume

The Medford-based Rogue Flyfishers Association has returned to an East Medford track to conduct free weekly fly-casting classes for anyone from complete newbies to skilled casters looking for a little weekday time casting on the grass.

Long-time club members Otis Swisher and John MacDiarmid will teach casting for all levels from 6 to 7 p.m. every Monday through Sept. 26.

Beginners can use free loaner gear that will be available weekly.

The classes will be at Hedrick Middle School, 1501 E. Jackson St.

For more information, see www.rogueflyfishers.org.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.