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Motorboat rules for small coastal streams to be reviewed again Jan. 6

State marine officials will be in Portland on Jan. 6 to decide on instituting changes to motorboat rules on the South Fork of the Coquille River and other small Oregon coastal streams.

The Oregon State Marine Board has been asked by anglers and southwest Oregon landowners to decide whether motors should be banned on the so-called "South Fork" to quell conflicts between steelhead anglers.

The use of small outboard motors on driftboats has become increasingly popular on this and other southern Oregon streams.

They allow anglers to fish repeatedly through riffles where motorless driftboaters have a tougher time muscling their crafts back against the current.

Conflicts between anglers in motorized and nonmotorized driftboats have surfaced on several smaller coastal streams. The Marine Board is using the South Fork petition to revisit the issue and perhaps develop some sideboards for dealing with similar conflicts on other streams.

Reedsport angler Jim Thurber requested the Coquille rule change in March because he believed the over use of motors on small streams harms the overall angling experience.

The Marine Board in October visited Medford and North Bend, in Coos County, for public hearings to take testimony about the South Fork, as well as to solicit a compromise that would allow electric motors.

Sportsman's Warehouse in Medford will host two free seminars Jan. 17 that will cover the ins and outs of winter steelhead fishing in Southern Oregon.

Veteran angler Bill Hickey will offer the 90-minute seminars at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the store, located at the intersection of Delta Waters Road and Crater Lake Highway in Medford.

Hickey is a board member of the Middle Rogue Steelhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited based in Grants Pass.

Hickey will be joined in the seminar by Jeff Wood. Wood and Hickey are certified angling-education instructors through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, teaching fishing to kids in local elementary schools.

Seating is limited, so interested participants should reserve a spot by telephoning the store at 732-3700.

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