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'Holy Water' is stocked with 'good, fat' trout

The so-called "Holy Water" impoundment along the upper Rogue River should see a few more of its disciples return now that more rainbows have been baptized there.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on Tuesday released about 100 trout, each about 13 inches long, in the eight-tenths of a mile stretch of river between Cole Rivers Hatchery and the base of Lost Creek Dam.

"They're good, fat fish — about a pound apiece," says Dan VanDyke, the ODFW's Rogue District fish biologist.

The stretch is open only to catch-and-release fishing with traditional fly-fishing gear.

Once a regional destination for fly anglers to catch trout after trout amid a classic insect hatchery, the impoundment has been off fly-fishers' radar for the past few years because of a dearth of trout there.

Regular fingerling releases were halted there in 2005 and 2006 over concerns of infecting the hatchery's water source with the natural disease IHN. Also, high winter and spring flows likely flushed the impoundment's trout downstream.

Last year, the ODFW jump-started the fishery by stocking 2,000 fingerling in the impoundment, and the fish quickly grew to about 10 inches by January, when Holy Water faithful Phil Henning of Medford caught and released 22 of them in one afternoon.

"They were cookie-cutter fish," Henning says. "It was like I caught one fish 22 times."

In three subsequent trips, Henning ended his days fishless. The trout, it seems, were flushed downstream.

"They just went away," he says. "Hopefully, these fish will stay."

VanDyke says no new releases are planned for the Holy Water this year.

"This is our last release to catch up for the gap in fingerling stocking," VanDyke says.

Nymph fly expert to hold talk with fly-fishers

One of the Northwest's best-known experts on nymph flies is coming to Medford to talk bugs Wednesday with members of the Rogue Fly Fishers Association.

Portland author Dave Hughes' talk, entitled "Nymph Fishing Simplified," will be the featured presentation at the association's monthly meeting at the Red Lion Hotel, 200 N. Riverside Ave., Medford.

The Wet Fly social hour begins at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner, club business and presentation beginning at 7 p.m. Guests are welcome.

For more information, call 858-5981 or visit www.rogueflyfishers.org.