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Atlantic salmon out at Hosmer Lake

State fish managers have abandoned the decades-old stocking of non-native Atlantic salmon in Hosmer Lake after years of underachieving fishing for them at this Central Oregon lake.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife instead will rely on an interbred strain of rainbow trout to provide fly-fishers with the unique angling experience sought at this lake.

The trout stocking program at Hosmer Lake was changed in 2013 to see whether cutthroat and “Cranebow” rainbow trout would provide a better fishing experience than Atlantic salmon. Atlantic salmon had been stocked in Hosmer since the 1950s, but in recent years they have performed poorly in the fishery — rarely attaining the size or catch rate favored by anglers. In 2014, ODFW did not collect any Atlantic salmon eggs but continued to monitor the new cutthroat and Cranebow fisheries. Cranebow rainbow trout are hatchery fish derived from wild redband trout found in Crane Prairie Reservoir.

Hosmer Lake has been stocked with Atlantic salmon since the 1950s. ODFW would raise about 3,000 Atlantic salmon at nearby Wizard Springs Hatchery for the annual release.

The regulations called for catch-and-release only fishing for them with barbless hooks, and it became an Bucket List item for Oregon fly-fishers.

But the fish never reached desired size and they were tough to catch, with more anglers turning instead to the lake's cutthroat trout and Cranebows.

ODFW didn't bother to take Atlantic salmon eggs for breeding after the 2013 season, and spent last year monitoring catch and effort at Hosmer.

The results showed just 16 percent of Hosmer fly-fishers were targeting Atlantic salmon. The survey also showed that the majority of fly-fishers there had no preference on what fish to catch in the lake.

Moreover, 81 percent of the anglers surveyed considered the trout-based fishery good or extremely good.

As a result, ODFW will now focus on growing large Cranebows for anglers to catch and release at Hosmer.

The agency next year plans to keep Hosmer as a catch-and-release lake, adding that requirement for rainbows and cutthroat to help turn it into a new trophy trout fishery, according to the agency.

Like Diamond Lake, Hosmer Lake had no native fish. It was initially stocked with rainbow trout in 1929. Hosmer is a natural lake in the central Cascades about 5,000 feet above sea level, about 20 miles west-southwest of Bend along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.

Lichen, moss hike at Upper Table Rock

The Siskiyou Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon is sponsoring a hike to Upper Table Rock near Sams Valley for those who have a lichen for moss.

Botanist John Villella will lead the hike, which will focus on observing lichens, moss, liverworts and terrestrial algae along Upper Table Rock. Participants might also see early flowering wildflowers and vernal pool fairy shrimp.

Participants should meet at 9:30 a.m. at the dirt lot next to Shop'n Kart, 22268 Ashland St. in Ashland, or at 10 a.m. at the Upper Table Rock parking lot off Modoc Road. For details, call Julie Spelletich 541-951-1744.

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