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Speaker will talk about outdoors survival

A retired training director from the U.S. Air Force Academy Survival School will be in Medford this evening to help Rogue Valley residents prep themselves for potential pitfalls of the outdoors.

Peter Kummerfeldt's presentation on the importance of preparation for surviving outdoors dangers will be at 6 p.m. at the Asante Smullin Health Education Center, 2825 E. Barnett Road.

The free presentation will include a discussion about what gear people should carry. Kummerfeldt was brought to town by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue program.

So far this year, searchers have conducted more than 100 missions, including 55 in June and July.

Our stats are off the charts this year," says Sgt. Shawn Richards of the sheriff's department.

Richards said search-and-rescue officials invited Kummerfeldt as part of an overall effort to help people better prepare for problems when they hit the woods and waters.

"If we prevent one fatality, we did well," Richards said.

The center can hold up to 440 people, but interested attendees are encouraged to arrive early.

Smallmouth now in Hyatt Lake

Rumors of illegally stocked smallmouth bass in Hyatt Lake were confirmed last week when state fish biologists discovered a juvenile smallmouth near Hyatt Dam.

The fish was captured during electroshocking surveys at the lake in the Greensprings area east of Ashland.

"We've had a couple people ask about them, but no one has confirmed that they caught one," says David Haight, an ODFW fish biologist who conducted the electroshocking.

Because the bass was a juvenile, Haight says the fish likely was produced by spawning smallmouth in the reservoir. Hyatt sports a largemouth bass population and, with its shallow and often muddy conditions, is not a stereotypical smallmouth lake, Haight says. The best smallmouth habitat is near the dam, he says.

Illegally stocked fish are the bane of waterways throughout the West, with the so-called "bucket biology" responsible for damaging once-popular fisheries.

Senior pass deadline looms

Seniors have three more weeks to buy a lifetime National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass for $10 before the price increases eight-fold. The pass will cost $80 starting Aug. 28 because of a federal law passed earlier this year.

The pass covers all entrance fees and day-use fees for pass-holders and their traveling companions.

Five-rod rule vetted

Oregonians would be able to use up to five rods and/or lines while ice fishing beginning next year under a proposal that today goes to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.

ODFW has proposed the change for anglers who buy a two-rod validation stamp. The commission meets today at ODFW's Salem headquarters.

This year's suite of proposed new angling regulations is light and includes the removal of bass limits from the lower Deschutes River and upping the daily limit from five to 10 for kokanee on Wickiup Reservoir and Lake Billy Chinook.

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