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Upper Rogue boat ramps closed over COVID-19

TRAIL — Driftboat fishing on the upper Rogue River is the latest loss to ensure social-distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

All state and Jackson County boat ramps and access to them are now closed to keep driftboats and rafts from launching on the upper Rogue.

Driftboats and rafts are small enough that they don’t allow for the 6-foot social distancing that joins stay-at-home as keys part of the state of Oregon’s effort to curb new COVID-19 cases. However, Gov. Kate Brown has encouraged outside activities, provided social distancing can be attained.

The ramps have been closed indefinitely, though a few boaters have managed to launch, presumably, from private ramps along the upper Rogue.

The closures come at the tail end of a disappointing winter steelhead season during which up-river migration has been mired by low and cold flows.

“Hopefully, they’ll be open sooner than later,” said Sgt. Shawn Richards, who heads the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office marine program.

Walk-in bank fishing, however, remains open.

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

Josephine County announced its first positive COVID-19 case Friday.{ }