Halibut anglers await start of 2012 season

Tuesday is the start of the spring Pacific halibut season, and deep-sea anglers will get more days on the water in 2012 thanks to a nearly 9 percent increase in the halibut quota for Oregon.

The near-shore season opens Tuesday statewide, with anglers fishing inside the 40-fathom line. The near-shore season in Central Oregon has a quota of 23,014 pounds of halibut. The season will close Oct. 1 if anglers don't catch the quota, but that is considered unlikely.

Waters south of Humbug Mountain, which are not popular fishing grounds for halibut, have a season of May 1 through Oct. 31, with no quota or depth restrictions.

Halibut anglers are reminded that bottomfish fishing is open only inside the 30-fathom line, so those planning a two-prong fishing day and want to fish near the 40-fathom curve should fish for halibut before heading back to shallower water for bottomfish.

The real action for halibut will start May 10-12 during the first of a string of all-depth days when anglers can travel past the 40-fathom line off Central Oregon. The next all-depth fishing dates are May 17-19.

The limit is one Pacific halibut of any length, and the annual quota is six per person.

Thrill-seekers and team-builders will get a chance to swing 40 feet above the ground and ride a zip line Saturday in Medford's Prescott Park during the grand opening of the park's new challenge course.

The Medford Parks and Recreation Department will hold a ribbon-cutting at 11 a.m., and visitors will get a change to try out the various challenge tests for free until 3 p.m.

The zip lines, catwalks and ground-level obstacles were built last year in the city's park atop Roxy Ann peak under a $50,000 contract with Synergo, a Portland company that builds and operates challenge courses across Oregon.

The course is near the Civilian Conservation Corps bathroom and parking lot on the peak's west side. It's accessible by taking Hillcrest Road up the peak, then turning on Roxy Ann Drive. Parking is available near the park entrance, and a shuttle will ferry people to and from the course.

Challenge courses are made for people to test their mettle and build team-working skills, because some of the challenges require group efforts to tackle them. They are popular as business retreats, but individuals can sign up for open spots in groups.

After Saturday, the course will be available for groups and corporations. Nonprofits pay $600 for a facilitator who will train up to 15 participants.

Corporations pay $600 to $1,200 per facilitator, at a rate determined by the size of the group.

The maximum group size is 60. The rates are based on a one-day program for up to seven hours.

For reservations, contact Synergo at 503-746-6646 or info@teamsynergo.com.

Open group dates also will be scheduled. The cost will be $30 for those under 18, and $45 for adults. For information on registration, call 541-774-2400.

For information on the challenge course, see www.playmedford.com.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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