Wildlife viewing in Oregon can now begin online

    Oregonians looking for good places to see wildlife ranging from spawning salmon and Roosevelt elk to reptiles and bighorn sheep now can start their journey at their computer keyboard and finish them in the field.

    The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Wednesday unveiled a new Internet-based Wildlife Viewing Map to help people learn where and when to see Oregon's fish and wildlife species.

    "We've never done anything like this before," says Meg Kenagy, the ODFW's conservation communications coordinator. "This is our first foray into this."

    Viewers can find the Google-based map at the ODFW website, www.dfw.state.or.us. It details 235 great places on public lands to see wildlife in the state.

    Viewers can click on the bubbles on the map and find various places with viewing platforms, overlooks and other places to view wildlife. A 2008 survey identified wildlife viewing as a $1.02 billion business in Oregon.

    The map contains Google's ability to get directions from where you are to the locations you want to visit, Kenagy says. For those unschooled in Google cartography, the site contains a tutorial to walk you through the site.

    The map includes local places like Upper and Lower Table Rocks, the Denman Wildlife Area and the Oregon Caves National Monument. The various boxes detail what you can view there and when.

    Kenagy says the sites were chosen in consultation with the agency's field wildlife biologists.

    Anglers interested in two-hand fly-casting will get a dose of this fishing genre during a special one-day spey-fishing conclave set for Saturday at TouVelle State Park along the Rogue River off Table Rock Road.

    The clinic, called "2 Hands @ TouVelle," will include a day's worth of casting demonstrations and exhibits from various companies that outfit spey-rod anglers, including three local rod builders.

    Spey rods are long — usually at least 12 feet long — and are used to execute long roll casts with little or no need for back-casting room. They are cast using both hands, and the technique has grown in popularity, especially among bank anglers who can cover far more water than conventional casters while fishing nymphs for steelhead.

    The free event, open to the public, is the fifth organized by Gary Anderson, a Gold Hill fly-rod builder.

    Various spey-casting instructors will be on hand, and demonstrations are scheduled to run from about 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. A free lunch will be provided.

    Also scheduled for exhibits are Beulah Fly Rods and R.B. Meiser Fly Rods of Medford, as well as several regional line, rod and reel manufacturers.

    Anderson says he times the events for mid to late September after flow releases from Lost Creek Reservoir into the upper Rogue River have dropped, which makes for better wading.

    Fly-fishing Oregon's best steelhead rivers will be the main topic at Wednesday's meeting of the Rogue FlyFishers Association in Medford.

    Charles Gehr will present a visual tour through the various rivers that make Oregon a worldwide destination for fly-fishers stalking steelhead.

    The meeting will begin with a 6 p.m. Wet Fly social hour followed by the buffet dinner, raffle and presentation at 7 p.m.

    The club meets every third Wednesday at the Red Lion Hotel, 200 N. Riverside Ave., Medford. Meetings are open to the public.

    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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