June 1, 2010 CLACKAM

A fun-filled day of fishing and related activities is in store for the hundreds of youngsters who are expected to show up for the event at ODFW’s Bonneville Hatchery, Oregon’s largest fish rearing facility. The hatchery is located 40 miles east of Portland at Exit 40 on Hwy. I-84. Registration will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. No pre-registration is required.

The free fishing clinic for children ages 12 and under will have multiple stations where youngsters can learn about river care, water safety, casting, fish identification and other topics. After getting their “Passport” stamped at each station, young anglers can venture out to fish at one of several areas next at the hatchery that will be stocked with rainbow trout. Each child will be allowed a 20-minute fishing period and the opportunity to catch up to two rainbow trout. Most of the 3,600 fish will be 7 to 9 inches long, and a few will be trophy class fish weighing 1½ pounds. Youngsters lucky enough to catch one of the big fish will win an additional prize provided by ODFW and its sponsors. All children will receive a Herman Buck – named after the famous sturgeon at the hatchery’s Sturgeon Center – to be redeemed at the Bonneville Gift Store.

ODFW will provide all the rods, reels, tackle and bait kids need to catch a fish as well as bags and ice to keep their fish fresh until they get home. Personal fishing equipment will not be allowed.

Passport to Fishing at Bonneville is the largest of dozens of Free Fishing Weekend events that will take place across the state June 12-13. More than 175 volunteers and staff representing several civic, sportsmen and government organizations will be on hand at Bonneville Hatchery to make sure the event goes forward, rain or shine, without a hitch. Partners in the event include the McLoughlin and Sandy River chapters of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Cascade Locks Fire Department, Cascade Locks Lions Club, Multnomah Anglers & Hunters, Oregon Bass & Panfish Club, Oregon State Marine Board, Oregon State Police, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Free Fishing Weekend is an Oregon tradition – two days each year when the public is allowed to fish, clam, or crab anywhere in the state without a fishing license or tag. ODFW encourages adults to use this opportunity to take youngsters fishing. Other than the two-day waiver on purchasing a license, all regulations related to fishing locations, species, and catch limits still apply.

“Helping kids discover the benefits of fishing through events like this is one of our agency’s top priorities,” said Jeff Boechler, manager of ODFW’s North Willamette Watershed District, which stocks 25 lakes and ponds in the Portland metropolitan area. “This is a good time for people to get out and explore the wealth of recreational opportunities that Oregon has to offer right in their own backyards.”

Other Free Fishing Weekend Fishing Opportunities in the Portland Area:

Benson Lake will receive about 4,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Benson Lake is in Benson Lake State Park, the exit before Multnomah Falls, off of I-84 going east.

Estacada Lake will receive 2,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. This lake is located behind River Mill Dam at Estacada.

Faraday Lake will receive about 2,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. The lake is two miles SE of Estacada, off Hwy. 224 on the Clackamas River.

Harriet Lake will receive 4,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Harriet Lake is on the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River. Take U.S. Forest Service roads from Ripplebrook Ranger Station beyond Estacada.

Hartman Pond will receive 1,250 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. The pond is in the Columbia River Gorge, off the Benson Lake State Park exit going east.

Henry Hagg Lake will receive 3,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Take Hwy. 47 south from Forest Grove and head west on the turn-off south of Dilley.

Huddleston Pond will receive 1,200 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. From Hwy. 18, take Willamina City Center Exit. Turn left on Main St., follow Main St. to NE E St. and turn right. Proceed to NE Yamhill St. and turn left. Follow Yamhill St. to the pond.

North Fork Reservoir will receive 7,500 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. The reservoir is located seven miles south of Estacada off of Hwy. 224.

Sheridan Pond will receive about 500 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Sheridan Pond is located just south of Sheridan. Take Exit 33 off Hwy. 18 and head south. The pond is in Sheridan Wetlands Park on the left side of the road.

Silver Creek Reservoir will receive 2,600 legal-sized rainbow trout and 200 larger trout for Free Fishing Weekend. This reservoir is located on Silver Creek, 2.5 miles south of Silverton on Hwy. 214.

Small Fry Lake will receive 500 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Fishing at this site is restricted to kids 17 years old and younger, with a two-fish limit. It is located on the Clackamas River 7 miles south of Estacada off of Hwy. 224.

Timothy Lake will receive 3,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Timothy Lake is about 80 miles east of Portland past Mt. Hood. From Hwy. 26, turn onto Skyline Road, also known as U.S. Forest Service Road #42.

West Salish Pond will receive 1,500 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. West Salish Pond is located in Salish Ponds Wetlands Park on the north side of NE Glisan St., just west of NE 207th in Fairview.

The South Fork Yamhill River will receive 2,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. These fish will be released into the river between McMinnville and Grand Ronde.

For more information about Passport to Fishing, please call Jennell Hoehne, Volunteer Coordinator in Clackamas, at 971-673-6008. For more information about statewide Free Fishing Weekend events, check ODFW’s website Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.