ASHLAND, Ore. – The Hyatt Lake boat landing is now open. The popular fishing spot, which normally opens mid-April to align with the start of the fishing season, was supposed to remain closed an extra month due to sequestration cuts.
Thanks to funding from Jackson County and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, fishing enthusiasts are back out on the water, and that’s making people like Arthur Alfinito very happy.
“I’m kind of excited because I’ve had a long winter and I want get out here and get some sun and spend the day with my kid,” said Alfinito.
Alfinito has been fishing this lake for over 20 years with family and close friends. He says the first few weeks of the season make for some of the best fishing, and without the boat landing, they wouldn’t be possible.
“This is really a tough lake to fish from the shore from. So if you shut down the boat ramps at Hyatt Lake, you shut down the majority of the fishing,” said Alfinito.
But not everything is open. Sequester cuts are still forcing the lake to keep campsites and bathrooms closed until at least mid-May. Officials say camping fees only cover a third of expenses. Alfinito says that doesn’t affect him, but there are many who will be let down.
“There’s a traditional opening weekend trout thing,” said Alfinito. “They get their family together and they like to recreate over that weekend. That’s the sad part, because I know people have made that traditional.”
He says he’s concerned about the fact that money is too tight to keep all of those services open as long. Places like Hyatt Lake, he says, are what make Southern Oregon what it is.
“That’s what makes this town so dynamic,” said Alfinito. “We kind of live in Vacationville.”