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Rogue trouble spots prompt warning

Jackson County marine deputies are warning rafters and inflatable kayak users of three new navigational hazards along the upper Rogue River that have given casual boaters trouble this season.

The worst is a 160-foot-long fir tree with a 6-foot-tall root wad that fell into the river upstream of Shady Cove, according to the marine patrol. The current flowing into it has whisked several kayaks and other less-maneuverable boats into it this season.

The marine patrol plans to hire a contractor in hopes of cutting out the hazard before this weekend's boaters make the trip from the Hatchery Hole to Shady Cove.

The other problem areas are above the Twin Bridges area upstream of Shady Cove and on the stretch between TouVelle State Park and the mouth of Bear Creek, according to marine deputies. However, there is enough room for most boaters to maneuver safely around these hazards, marine deputies say.

The Oregon State Marine Board keeps a Web page with updated information on navigational hazards that have been reported statewide. See that page at www.oregon.gov/OSMB/Pages/safety/navigation_hazards.aspx.

More than 900 tags for controlled elk hunts and seven tags for a Western Oregon youth antlerless deer hunt will be up for grabs Sunday morning in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's annual leftover tag sale at license outlets statewide.

The tags, which went unallocated in the controlled hunt lottery system earlier this month, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. at retail outlets but not at ODFW offices, which will be closed.

The hunts include tags for the North Sixes youth antlerless deer hunt, as well as 11 elk hunts scattered across Eastern Oregon.

The specific hunts and tag numbers can be found at ODFW's website at www.dfw.state.or.us.

The irony here is that these tags weren't good enough for people to seek through the lottery, but they will be hot commodities Sunday.

"They sell out in minutes, so if you want one you better be no later than second in line at 10 a.m. to get one," says Michelle Dennehy, ODFW's Wildlife Division spokeswoman.

Rogue River anglers frustrated over having to release wild spring chinook salmon this season now have a wider swath to find more chinook they can keep.

Waters from Dodge Bridge near Eagle Point downstream to the old Gold Ray Dam site open to the retention of wild spring chinook beginning Sunday. All waters downstream of the old dam site already are open for retention of wild springers.

Dodge Bridge is where Highway 234 crosses the Rogue west of Highway 62.

The remainder of the upper Rogue from Dodge Bridge to the Hatchery Hole remains open for catch-and-release fishing for wild spring chinook through July. That stretch of the upper Rogue closes to all chinook fishing July 31 to allow wild springers plenty of space for spawning in the mainstem Rogue.

Fin-clipped hatchery fish can be kept riverwide.

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