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Lake Selmac gets area's first trout infusion today

GRANTS PASS — Still don't have any Valentine's Day plans? Maybe you should stick a bag of worms under your arm, grab your sweetheart and head to Lake Selmac to catch a mess of trout.

Lake Selmac will be stocked today with 5,000 catchable rainbow trout in the first planting of hatchery-raised trout this year in Southern Oregon.

The fish will be trucked in the early afternoon from Cole Rivers Hatchery to the lake outside of Selma off Highway 199, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

They are scheduled to be liberated at the lake's concrete boat ramp and some of the 8- to 10-inch trout could be bending rods before the last of the trout is flushed from the truck.

"Usually the fishing is pretty good right from the start," says David Haight, an ODFW fisheries biologist in Central Point. "It's always pretty popular because it's the first lake we stock."

These fish will eat anything from worms and various colors of PowerBait to small lures and streamer flies.

The daily limit is five trout at least 8 inches long, but only one of those fish can be more than 20 inches long. The lake also has a limit of one bass of any length per day.

Lake Selmac is the most popular trout fishery in Josephine County, but it also is home to largemouth bass, bluegill and other warmwater fish.

It is a relatively shallow lake, so it warms faster than deep-water reservoirs. That helps keep the trout more active in late winter and spring, but it often gets too warm for mid-summer stocking.

That's why the ODFW front-loads the trout-stocking in late winter at Lake Selmac.

The lake will get another 5,000 rainbows in early March and early April, Haight says. Another 4,400 fish are scheduled to be stocked there in May, with 4,000 more added in early June just before the popular Free Fishing Day event at the lake, Haight says.

Lost Creek Lake and Willow Lake are scheduled for trout stocking during the last week of February, making them the first Jackson County waters to get stocked with hatchery trout this year, Haight says.

GOLD BEACH — Campers in the forests outside of Gold Beach will have to bring a little more green with them.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is proposing to increase fees at eight recreation sites within the Gold Beach Ranger District as part of its ongoing recreational plans.

The increases, which include doubling of some fees, was proposed to help maintain "core services" at these facilities, according to forest spokeswoman Patricia Burel.

The largest proposed increase is at Packers Cabin, which would double to $40 a night.

Foster Bar and Lobster Creek campgrounds and the Lobster Creek gravel bar would double to $10, and the Quosatana Campground would increase by $5 to $15 a night.

Chetco River gravel bars — Miller, Nook, Redwood and South Fork — are proposed to increase from $8 to $10.

Public meetings were held late last year to gather comment on the proposals.

The proposals will be presented by a citizens recreational advisory committee in April, and must be approved by the regional foresters in Portland, Burel says. If adopted, the changes likely would go into effect in late spring, she says.

Life forms from fish to bugs and cows will be the topic of conversation Feb. 21 in Yreka, Calif., during the next meeting of the Jefferson Fish Society.

Carson Jeffres from the University of California at Davis will be the featured speaker at the society's meeting at the Silver Spoon Restaurant.

Jeffres will discuss the aquatic and terrestrial critters that live and use the Shasta River.

The society was formed to promote fish conservation within the State of Jefferson.

The society's social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., with presentations beginning at 6:45 p.m. Guests are asked to RSVP by Friday for dinner, as required by the restaurant.

The Silver Spoon is at 322 W. Miner St. off Interstate 5 at Exit 775. Carpools will be leaving at 5 p.m. from the Ashland Shop-N-Kart, 2268 Ashland St.

For more information and to RSVP, telephone 406-396-0737 or send an e-mail to jeffersonfishsociety@yahoo.com.

The society's Web site is www.jeffersonfishsociety.com.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.