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A redband rainbow trout fell for a golden stone fly imitation on the Metolius River near Camp Sherman.

Outdoor Notebook: Free Fishing Weekend, Illinois booze ban

Next Saturday and Sunday mark the latest iteration of Free Fishing Weekend, when anglers can fish, crab or dig clams without the normally requisite license or tags.

That includes spring chinook salmon or winter steelhead fishing on the Rogue River, where only people who currently possess harvest tags need to log the fish they keep.

While recent years have seen free fishing events added on Thanksgiving, New Year’s and Earth Day, the upcoming one June 2-3 is the traditional weekend that has been in place for more than two decades.

While licenses are waived during free fishing days, all other regulations, including bag limits, gear restrictions and regular closures, still apply.

While many Free Fishing Weekend events involve seasoned anglers taking out kids or the unconverted, two federal agencies are teaming up for a special event June 2 at Fish Lake off Highway 140 near the Jackson/Klamath county line.

The Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management along with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest will hold their annual event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. focused around the Forest Service boat ramp near Fish Lake Resort.

Fishing rods and tackle will be provided to give gearless kids the chance to wet a line, and there will be plenty of other activities for families, such as learning how to measure fish, as well as “fish print” painting using real salmon and steelhead.

Rangers will also host a series of talks that include grab bags.

You can track this event and see pictures of previous years’ events at the RRSNF’s Facebook Event page.

Alcohol ban returns to Illinois River

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has reinstated its temporary ban on alcohol possession and consumption along the Recreation Section of the Illinois River, citing public support.

Now in its third year, the ban goes into effect today for Memorial Day weekend and will remain in place through September.

It covers from the Forest Service boundary on the Illinois River Road to the area near McCaleb Ranch, and it also includes the surrounding Cedar Camp area. The ban is enforced along a corridor roughly a quarter-mile wide from either bank of the Illinois River.

The ban does not include private lands within that corridor.

Forest spokesperson Chamise Kramer says the ban arose from a concern for public safety, and was met the past two years with overwhelming support from both the local communities and those who ventured to the river from outside areas.

A separate order bans parking or leaving a vehicle unattended within the white lines along the Illinois River Road.

Breaking the alcohol ban is a violation, but it can be treated as a misdemeanor, with conviction punishable by up to six months in jail and fines up to $5,000.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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