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Unplug the Nintendo, it's time for a spring break fishin' derby

TRAIL — Lost Creek Lake will be the destination du jour Saturday for Rogue Valley youngsters looking forward to a bit of spring break trout fishing.

The Medford-based International Trouters Society will hold its sixth annual Spring Break trout derby, centered at Takelma Park near the southwest corner of Lost Creek dam.

Derby organizer Dave Nadler dropped the old format of awarding prizes to the first kids under 16 years old to catch a trout over 16 inches.

Now, it's strictly a longest-fish derby, with kids broken into two age groups — ages 3-5 years in the lower division and ages 6-17 years in the older derby. That includes kids 16 and 17 years old for the first time.

With about 30,000 Jackson County school kids headed into spring break, that's a lot of idle hands. "It's to give kids of all school ages the chance to come out and fish," Nadler says.

Registration and sign-in are from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Participants begin fishing at 9 a.m. and stop by 4 p.m. Prizes will be awarded at the "Trout Central" tent. The Grand Prize winner — the first registered under-16 angler to catch a trout over 16 inches — will get his or her choice of prizes. "It makes it a little spicier," Nadler says.

The regular fishing rules, limits and licenses apply. Anglers aged 13 and younger can fish for free. A $6.75 juvenile license is required for anglers 14-17 years old.

The daily trout limit at Lost Creek Lake remains five trout at least 8 inches long, but only one of those can be more than 20 inches long.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife also is trying to help kids to step away from the Nintendos over spring break by boosting rainbow trout levels in a string of Rogue Valley waters.

Four lakes and ponds will get visits from the ODFW fish-liberation trucks this week and two more will get complements of fish next week as part of the ODFW's regular spring stocking schedule.

This week's stocking includes 4,000 legal-sized rainbow trout for Emigrant Lake near Ashland, with another 1,400 legals going into the Expo Ponds at the Jackson County Expo at Central Point.

Also stocked by Friday will be 5,000 legal-sized rainbows in Lake Selmac near Selma in Josephine County, as well as 300 rainbows for Reinhardt Pond in Grants Pass.

Lost Creek Lake is set to get 25,000 rainbows next week, while Willow Lake off Highway 140 will get 4,000 legals next week.

Oregon State Police troopers hope the lure of a potential $2,000 reward offered from an anonymous benefactor will help find and prosecute whoever shot two Roosevelt bull elk and left them to rot March 11 near Glendale.

An unknown person or persons shot and killed the animals early that morning in an open field near A&M Trucking Co. off Azalea-Glen Road, according to OSP Senior Trooper Don Frerichs from the OSP's Fish and Wildlife Division.

The field is near where a seven-point bull was poached in October 2007, and that case also remains unsolved, says Frerichs, who is stationed in the OSP's Roseburg office.

A reward is offered by a private party of up to $2,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects responsible in the recent case. Anyone with information was urged to call Senior Trooper Frerichs at 541-440-3334 ext. 4540.

Joe's store in Medford will hold a free salmon and steelhead fishing clinic for anglers looking for tips on fishing bait and plugs. The clinic will run from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Joe's, 2370 Poplar Dr.

Fishing guide Jon Geyer will go over the basics of fishing salmon and steelhead from the bank and from boats. Topics will include side-drifting from boats, as well as back-bouncing — the traditional bait-fishing technique for Rogue River spring chinook — and running plugs.

Door prizes will be given away, including fishing tackle and a free guided steelhead trip. There's no need to pre-register. For information, call Joe's at 772-9956.