CAST for Kids needs boats

    Willie Boats President Jim Bittle helps out in last year's Cast for Kids event at Emigrant Lake.
    An organization that helps special-needs kids and their caretakers partake in a day of fishing is in need of volunteer anglers with boats to help make this special day happen.

    The CAST for Kids Foundation is planning its second annual event July 14 at Emigrant Lake east of Ashland, one of three such events in Oregon this month and among 80 scheduled for 2018 across the country.

    The local event, which is sponsored by Willie Boats of Medford, partners volunteers from the Medford area with local special-needs ages 6 to 18 and their caretakers for a morning of boating and fishing on the lake.

    Jay Yelas, the foundation’s Lincoln City-based executive director, says 43 kids and their caretakers are signed up for a morning of fishing followed by lunch, an awards ceremony and a chance to show off the day’s catch.

    “Everybody’s there to celebrate these children with special needs, help them overcome some of their limitations, love on them and, hopefully, catch some fish,” Yelas says.

    “Usually, they’re on the outside looking in,” Yelas says. “But this day, they’re the stars of the day.”

    The event will be run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. out of the Picnic Shelter B at Emigrant Lake County Park.

    The event pairs a child and his caretaker with a volunteer angler with a boat, and so far about 15 people have signed up for that, Yelas says. More volunteers with boats are needed, as well as those who want to volunteer on shore, he says.

    “We have 43 kids registered, and that’s a full field,” Yelas says. “Now, it’s a matter of getting folks with boats.

    “Any kind of boat works as long as it’s sea-worthy and sits three people,” Yelas says.

    For more information on volunteering, visit the program’s website at

    Other events are planned July 21 on the South Umpqua River at Elkton and July 29 on Prineville Reservoir near Prineville.

    CAST stands for Catch an Special Thrill, and it returned last year after a two-year hiatus in Jackson County. The upcoming event will be the second annual.

    CAST For Kids was a mainstay at Hyatt Lake for many summers, but the event was suspended in 2015 because of low water at the reservoir.

    With the return, the organization opted for Emigrant Lake because it is closer to the Rogue Valley, where all the participants live.

    Wind mars Rainbow $5,000

    A Prospect man won the wind-plagued Rainbow $5,000 trout-fishing derby Saturday at Diamond Lake with a 3-pound, 3-ounce rainbow that netted him $1,000.

    Jimmy Pace caught his winning 21-1/2-inch rainbow while fishing at the lake’s south end, besting 923 entrants in the 21st annual derby. His rainbow was five ounces heavier than second-place finisher Matt Sayles, who earned $750.

    While Sayles’ trout weighed the same as third-lace finisher Jenny Hamlin, Sayles won the tie-breaker because his trout was 3/8ths of an inch longer.

    Three-time winner “Fish-On John” Linson failed to place in the top 30 of those who logged cash prizes in the derby. However, his 8-year-old grandson Aron Linson placed fifth in the kids division with a 2-pound, 5-ounce rainbow that earned him a rod-and-reel combination that he gave to a friend, John Linson says.

    Linson says stiff winds hit the lake as early as 7 a.m. and blew boats all over the water, harming catches.

    Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or Follow him on Twitter at

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