Black Friday haters more interested in the outdoors than fighting over half-priced socks before dawn can this year fish for the Rogue River's famed "retread" steelhead without paying Da Man a dime.
Under a law quietly passed by the Oregon Legislature, Oregon's Free Fishing Weekend rules that allow people to fish, clam or crab for free have been extended four more days a year instead of just the traditional first weekend in June.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife opted to include Nov. 25-26, the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, to those free days. That includes Black Friday, the massive Christmas-buying day.
In the Rogue Valley, the day after Thanksgiving has been a popular time to fish for summer steelhead on the upper Rogue River. Cole Rivers Hatchery workers in many years even recycle excess summer steelead, dubbed retreads, into the upper Rogue for just such an occasion.
"That's what I'm shooting for," hatchery Manager Dave Pease says.
Pease says he already has 436 excess summer steelhead for release, likely on the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. With two more weekly collections before then, "that could add up to another 400 fish by then," he says.
The excess fish will be trucked downstream and split between the TouVelle State Park boat ramp and the Modoc area of the Denman Wildlife Area off Antioch Road, Pease says. Those are traditional retread release sites. Free Fishing Weekend isn't just for Oregonians, so out-of-state visitors also can try to catch a retread.
The other days for the free fishing, crabbing and clamming will New Years Eve and New Years Day, according to ODFW.
Free Forest Service day-use sites today
The Forest Service has waived its fees today for its day-use, boat ramp and other facilities in honor of Veterans Day, according to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.
However, camping and cabin-rental fees still apply.
Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest campgrounds such as Union Creek and Farewell Bend are operated by a concessionaire, which has already closed them for the season.