Oregonians can fish and catch shellfish for free during Free Fishing Weekend Saturday-Sunday, June 4-5.
The weekend will include a local angling event at Hyatt Lake. The Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest are teaming up for the free Hyatt Lake event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hyatt Lake Campground near The Greensprings.
Fishing rods and tackle will be provided for kids, and plenty of other activities are planned for families, says Forest Service spokeswoman Chamise Kramer. Families can learn how to measure fish and make a “fish print” painting using real salmon and steelhead. Rangers will host ranger talks and provide grab bags.
While a fishing license or harvest tag won't be needed to fish on Free Fishing Weekend, all other regulations and bag limits remain in place.
Fourth graders who attend the Free Fishing event at Hyatt Lake can get a free Every Kid in a Park pass, which will entitle them and family members to free, unlimited access to thousands of public land sites across the country through Aug. 31, including Crater Lake National Park.
Oregon State Parks campgrounds will offer free camping June 4 as part of its annual State Parks Day. While campsite rental is free that day, an $8 nonrefundable reservation fee still applies for those who reserve sites either by calling 800-452-5687 or by going online at www.oregonstateparks.org.
Bighorn poaching reward grows
The Medford-based Oregon Hunters Association has upped its reward to $15,550 for information about the poaching of a bighorn sheep ram from a herd along Interstate 84 near the town of Rufus.
The reward is the third highest in the history of OHA's Turn In Poachers, or TIP, program and is more than the group paid out to tipsters all of last year, OHA State Coordinator Duane Dungannon says.
The sheep was shot then left to waste near milepost 118 in sight of passing I-84 motorists who called Oregon State Police April 10 to report it.
The case "has touched a nerve" among sportsmen and the general public, prompting the increased reward, Dungannon says.
Postings about the case on OHA's Facebook account drew more than 200,000 views, he says.
"These are critters everybody knows about," Dungannon says. "Not only are they iconic animals, these are very visible sheep. Everybody who drives I-84 looks for the sheep."
The reward includes $5,000 from the TIP program and $10,550 in donations from the Oregon Chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep and several OHA chapters.
The two larger reward offerings involved another sheep poaching case and the killing of elk from a very visible herd in the Glendale area. Nobody was prosecuted in either case, so no rewards were paid, Dungannon says.
Anyone with information about the case can call 1-800-452-7888. Tipsters can remain anonymous.