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Two-rod license expands to Willamette River

Oregon's special license that allows anglers to fish with two rods on lakes and reservoirs will be extended to the Willamette River and its tributaries beginning today under a test on whether it's appropriate for rivers.

If the two-rod experiment works well on the Willamette, it could be extended to coastal rivers such as the Rogue, but Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say they aren't looking that far ahead yet.

"We're starting on the Willamette, and we're taking it from there," says Mike Gauvin, ODFW's recreational fisheries program manager. "We're going into this with eyes wide open. We haven't held discussions on where other than the Willamette. I think we'll have to look at it river by river."

Sold since 2010, the $21 two-rod validation allows anglers to fish with two rods on inland standing waters, giving anglers twice the chance to catch trout, bass and panfish.

ODFW Director Curt Melcher signed a temporary rule Tuesday expanding it to the Willamette for the spring chinook salmon fishery. The temporary rule sunsets July 31.

Those who own a two-rod license can use it on the Willamette, Gauvin says. Those who buy one for the Willamette can use it at other waters open to it.

The Willamette rule allows two rods for salmon, steelhead, trout and bass but not sturgeon.

Also, kids younger than 12 do not need a validation to use a second rod.

Russ Stauff, ODFW's Rogue Watershed manager, says he has not talked about adding the Rogue to the two-rod territory, but he's open to the discussion.

"It's certainly possible," Stauff says. "If it works elsewhere, we'll take a look at it.

The specter of two-rod angling for salmon and steelhead would raise several issues on the Rogue.

For instance, anglers adding a second rod while trolling the lower Rogue bay for chinook and coho would increase catch rates there, possibly impacting the number of fish available for upriver angling.

"You'd want to make sure you're not setting yourself up for social problems between areas," Stauff says.

Though there are no salmon and steelhead catch quotas on the Rogue, biologists would have to consider whether the change threatened minimum spawning escapement goals, Stauff says.

ODFW sold 16,400 two-rod tags last year, about 1,000 more than each of the previous two years.

State trails council seeks members

A seat representing Eastern and parts of Southern Oregon has opened on the state's Oregon Recreation Trails Advisory Council, and state parks officials are looking for someone to fill it.

The seat on the seven-member council is reserved for a representative from Oregon's Second Congressional District, which includes all of Eastern Oregon, as well as Jackson County and a sliver of Josephine County.

The council advises the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission on the designation of state trails for hiking, mountain biking, paddling and other non-motorized uses, according to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

The terms last four years with an optional re-appointment for a second term. The seat was vacated in December when Kent Hawes of Bend left the council, says Rocky Houston, the department's trails specialist.

The council meets four times annually across the state to review applications on trail designations.

Those interested in serving must submit an ORTAC Interest Form by April 30. For information or to obtain a form, see www.oregon.gov/oprd/Trail_Programs_Services/Pages/Advisory-Committees.aspx or email Houston at rocky.houston@oregon.gov.

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