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Ice-fishing ends at mountain lakes

Warming weather, rain and mountain runoff has brought an end to the unofficial ice-fishing season at lakes in the south Cascades and Siskiyou mountains.

Rain softened and melted ice at Lake of the Woods, while runoff swelled the lake and cracked the ice as the lake level rose.

"We're definitely done on the lake," says George Gregory, co-owner and manager at Lake of the Woods Resort.

Ditto at Diamond Lake, where snows have shrouded thin ice that has lured a few anglers who ended up with wet legs from sinking through ice in the shallows.

New for ice-anglers this year were Hyatt and Howard Prairie lakes, but iffy ice and access problems kept most anglers away. Much of that ice has not broken up thanks to sturdy in-flows to both lakes.

Hyatt and Howard Prairie were both listed this week as half-full, a far cry from the end of fall when both sat close to 10 percent full.

Those two lakes traditionally closed Oct. 31 and reopened on the fourth Saturday of April. But the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission ended the traditional spring opener and fall closure when it opened most of Oregon's lakes year-round to bring consistency and convenience to state fishing regulations.

Trail achievement award nominations sought

The Oregon Recreation Trails Advisory Council is seeking nominations for its annual Doug Newman Recreation Trails Achievement Award.

The award is named for a former council member and honors a person or group making significant contributions to nonmotorized trails in Oregon. Nominations for contributions made in 2015 are due to the council by April 13.

Written nominations should address how the candidate's accomplishments benefited various trail users, how their efforts contributed to the creation or maintenance of trails and how they inspired others.

Newman was a former Eugene Register-Guard outdoor writer who was plagued with polio since early childhood, but who wrote passionately about the outdoors. He died in 1992.

For more information and to make nominations, contact Rocky Houston, trails coordinator for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. He can be reached at 503-986-0750 or rocky.houston@oregon.gov.

Slide closes Rainie Falls Trail

The Rainie Falls trail along the Rogue River near Grave Creek is closed after a landslide caused by heavy rains last week rendered a portion of the trail impassable, federal authorities say.

The slide occurred about one mile from the trailhead along the Galice Access Road just south of the Grave Creek bridge near the Grave Creek boat ramp, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

That is a short distance upstream of Rainie Falls, which this week would have become a popular angling spot for those trying to catch the first spring chinook salmon of the season in the Rogue Valley.

Another slide that had blocked the eastbound lane of the Galice Access Road near Rand was cleared earlier this week.

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