Southern Oregon trout stocking is a gift to campers

The stocking crew at Cole Rivers Hatchery has been busy this week filling area water bodies with fresh rainbow trout in preparation for the traditional start of the summer camping season.

The first 2,250 8-inch, legal-sized rainbows were stocked this week in the far upper Rogue River and Union Creek around Forest Service campgrounds for Memorial Day weekend.

These rainbows are a popular attraction for campers in the Union Creek area. Fresh rainbows are stocked weekly through the Labor Day weekend to refresh the fishing opportunities for weekend campers.

They can be caught on baits from small flies to worms, small lures and even pieces of green Gummy Worms. Try it. You'll see that it works.

The largest single stocking was at Lost Creek Lake, where 20,000 legals and 500 larger rainbows were split between the boat ramps at Stewart State Park and Takelma Park. Applegate Lake received 9,000 legals as well as 500 of the larger rainbows.

Lake Selmac and Willow Lake have each received 3,000 legals, while Willow Lake also saw 1,500 of the larger trout hit its waters this week.

Reinhart Pond in Grants Pass is set to get 300 legal-sized trout stocked there today.

Rogue Valley hunters who bought raffle tickets through the Oregon Access and Habitat Program collectively made one large donation to the program and wildlife management in Oregon without anyone here drawing a tag.

No one in Jackson, Josephine or Curry counties won any of the 12 hunts given away Saturday during a drawing at the Oregon Hunters Association statewide convention Saturday in Lincoln City.

The closest winner was Edie Banducci of Umpqua, who won the southeast elk hunt.

A total of 60,693 raffle tickets were sold, grossing $189,698, including $68,057 in sales for a bighorn sheep tag.

The 2011 auctions and raffles for big-game hunting tags netted nearly $300,000 for the state Access and Habitat Program and raised nearly $232,000 for big-game research and management in Oregon.

Raffle ticket sales over the past decade have been quite random, with the nearly 61,000 tickets sold this year far better than the 55,327 sold last year but lower than the 70,000 sold in 2009 and '07, according to ODFW statistics.

The companion auction alone grossed $378,750, including $130,000 for a bighorn sheep tag that matched the record set for that tag in 2005.

Visitors to Lost Creek Lake who forget to bring enough life jackets for everyone in their boats don't have to risk tickets or leave people on shore to be legal this summer.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has loaner life jackets available at the reservoir along the upper Rogue River this summer as part of its 4-year-old loaner program.

In conjunction with the Oregon State Marine Board, the Corps is providing loaner jackets at the boat ramps at Stewart State Park and at Takelma Park near the dam's north edge.

The Corps began the program in 2008 after officials realized that 96 percent of drowning victims at its reservoirs could have survived if they had been wearing a life jacket.

The stations contain a variety of jacket sizes and instructions to fit a jacket properly.

Life jackets should fit snugly, with all straps and buckles fastened. Boaters should always ensure that any life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved by checking the inside label.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email

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