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Rainbow $5,000 fishing derby hits 20th anniversary

During the past two decades of helping run Black Bird Shopping Center's Rainbow $5,000 trout-fishing derby, Toni Young has learned that derby anglers habitually are late to take the bait.

This year's derby is Saturday at Diamond Lake, and fewer than 400 people had signed up at Black Bird by midday Wednesday for Southern Oregon's richest trout-fishing event.

"They always wait until the last minute," Young says. "That's just what they do."

This is the 20th anniversary of the Rainbow $5,000 derby, billed as the one time a year that average Joe's can be like the pros and angle for trout and cash.

Participants can register today at Black Bird, 1810 W. Main St., in Medford, until the store closes at 8 p.m. Those planning to camp Friday night at Diamond Lake can register until 10 p.m. at Diamond Lake Resort, which is the official hub of the derby.

The Rainbow $5,000 is a multi-tiered contest.

The largest fish by weight caught by a registered angler will earn $1,000, with second place netting $750 and third place fetching $500. Prizes descend in value, with the 10th place fish earning $100. The 11th- to 20th-place finishers each win $75, and the 21st- to 30th-place finishers earn $50 each.

Black Bird also sponsors five tagged fish worth $500 each.

Any of those fish caught Saturday by a derby participant gets the cash prize, Young says. Last year, none of the five tagged trout were caught, so derby participants are due, she says.

The derby entrance fee is $16. The weigh-in will begin at noon and end at 3 p.m. Anglers must be in line by 3 p.m. to qualify for the weigh-in.

As in past derbies, each registered contestant can weigh in only one fish.

For more details, call Black Bird at 541-779-5431 or Diamond Lake Resort at 1-800-733-7593. A detailed list of rules are available at the Black Bird website, www.blackbirdshoppingcenter.com.

Temporary boat-ramp closures for repairs next week

Jackson County boat ramps along the upper Rogue River, as well as at Willow and Howard Prairie lakes, will be temporarily closed at various times next week for surface repairs, according to county parks Manager Steve Lambert.

Crews will be crack-sealing the parking lots as well as seal-coating the surface and restriping parking spots, Lambert says.

The work will help them look better and prolong their use, he says.

The Klum Landing ramp at Howard Prairie will be closed all day Monday and Tuesday and reopen at noon Wednesday. Until then, boaters will need to access the three other ramps at the lake east of Ashland.

The Willow Lake ramp will be closed all day Wednesday and it will reopen at noon Thursday. During that time, a temporary dirt ramp will be available for lake access.

The Dodge Bridge boat ramp along the upper Rogue will be closed all day Thursday and reopen at noon June 30. The Takelma ramp will be closed all day June 30 and reopen at noon Saturday, July 1.

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