January 17, 2019 10:15 a.m.
The Umpqua Fishery Enhancement Derby is getting closer.
The 27th annual event is happening Wednesday January 30th through Saturday February 2nd. Its sponsored by the Douglas Timber Operators and the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
On Wednesday its Student Day, where about 20 high school students work with staff from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Rock Creek Fish Hatchery. They will be at the hatchery east of Glide where the students will learn about spawning steelhead and other hatchery responsibilities.
Thursday January its Kids’ Day as 75 fifth grade students from Eastwood Elementary School head to Cooper Creek Reservoir near Sutherlin. They will spend the morning fishing with the Derby’s professional guides and enjoying other boating activities. The students are given a life jacket donated by the Joe Merchep Umpqua Rivers Foundation to take home. The event recognizes the students for their outdoor learning program and fish-rearing facility on Deer Creek at Eastwood School.
The popular catch-and-release steelhead derby begins Friday morning as 40 teams including over 80 anglers spend two days fishing on the North, South and Mainstem of the Umpqua River.
Friday Night the dinner and auction at the Douglas County Fairgrounds runs from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with about 650 people expected. Those attending will bid on items like boats, fishing trips, day trips and other items. Funds raised go towards projects benefitting the Umpqua Basin. Tickets are available by calling 672-0757.
Organizers said the derby has contributed more than $1.54 million towards fish habitat restoration projects over the past 26 years. All funds raised are matching funds which translates into a big investment in the Umpqua Basin fishery.