Innocence lost with realization that fake bait catches big fish

From the very beginning, my 10-year-old friend Eddie and I were as infatuated with the process of catching bait as we were in catching fish. Our typical fishing expedition, in fact, was so handicapped with jars, cans, boxes, and buckets of wiggly things it was difficult to find room on our bikes for our tackle. Seldom did we leave my yard for the Little Spokane River without at least a few hellgrammites, a jar of grasshoppers and of course – a big coffee can of nightcrawlers. For us, gathering bait provided an excuse for being outside the entire spring and summer, gave us direction, and kept us wet and dirty – positive, consequential considerations, despite our mothers’ notions to the contrary. Nothing else made us feel quite so free as plunging recklessly into the Little Spokane River in search of crawdads, and easing a seven-inch nightcrawler from the back lawn at midnight under the dim approval of a dying flashlight was exhilarating.

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Weekly hunting and fishing report

Fly Fishing Red’s Fly Shop in Cle Elum (509-933-2300) is voluntarily shifting to morning-only guide trips in the Yakima Canyon.  Water temperatures in the canyon are currently at a “safe” level, so this applies to only guided floats and is not mandatory for the do-it-yourself anglers at this time. Fly fishing in the Yakima has been very good.

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Wildfires in the region affect campers and outdoor recreation

An expanding fire that recently broke out in Glacier National Park is a prime example of why hikers and campers need to call ahead, browse the Web and stay tuned in to the impact wildfires might have on their plans. Just getting to the North Cascades on Interstate 90 has been a hassle this week because of wildfire-caused highway closures near George.

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TJ Sneva, of the racing Sneva family, created a flying machine that looks more like an Indy car. (Dan Pelle)

Flying high . . . or not 

A local crew has chosen the little known flying squirrel to champion its attempt to attain glory at a rather inglorious event that celebrates odd-ball flying art pieces that crash into the water. Bryce Rich, owner of Boyd Hill Snowskates, and TJ Sneva, a custom alpine ski designer from Spokane, have teamed up to lead the only crew from Idaho or Eastern Washington to compete in the Red Bull Flugtag 2015 event on Aug. 1 in Portland.

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Paddle, Splash and Play designed for kids, but adults welcomed.

Free event gives kids a chance to try paddle sports

For those looking for something inexpensive, but fun and exciting for the kids to do out-of-doors this summer, look no farther than the free promotional water event – Paddle, Splash and Play – Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. at the Nine Mile Recreation Area in Riverside State Park. Sponsored by the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club (SCKC), this outreach program is tailored to introduce and develop new generations of paddlers to the outdoors. Kids may try their hand at stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking, as well as receive instruction and beneficial tips from qualified instructors. All family members, regardless of age, are welcome to attend and participate.

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Weekend weather

A few days of fine summer weather without sweltering heat are in store for parts of the Inland Northwest, but showers and thunderstorms are likely later in the weekend. Highs are expected to be mainly in the 80s through Saturday in the Spokane area.

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TUESDAY, JULY 21, 2015

SUNDAY, JULY 19, 2015

A grizzly bear saunters through the 50 Mountain backcountry campsite in Glacier National Park after ripping into a backpacker’s tent.

Grizzly responsibility 

Following guidelines for camping in grizzly country can prevent trouble for everyone, including the bears. A Spokane man experienced a good case in point last summer while backpacking in Glacier National Park.

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Field reports: Elk group grants $211,400 to Idaho 

WILDLIFE – The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $211,400 in grants that will fund more than a dozen habitat enhancement, research and hunting heritage projects in Idaho, including $50,000 for wolf management. The grants will be directed to projects on 15,676 acres spread across Ada, Bear Lake, Blaine, Boise, Bonneville, Boundary, Camas, Caribou, Clearwater, Elmore, Franklin, Idaho, Owyhee, Teton and Twin Falls counties, officials said.

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Merino Air Baselayer’s thin, super-stretchy wool fabric is touted as highly breathable insulation.

Gear Junkie: Patagonia releases new Merino wool base layer

A base layer release in July may not be the most savvy marketing move. But apparently Patagonia couldn’t wait for what the brand is touting “the world’s most advanced base layer” ever developed. Those are tall claims. But the Merino Air Baselayer product line, which goes on sale this week, appears to be something new. It consists of men’s and women’s pieces made of a wool-polyester blend put through a process I have not seen.

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Climber’s memorial boosts Dishman Hills

OUTGIVE – The family of an Eastern Washington University professor who died in a rock climbing accident July 7 has requested any donations in her memory be directed to a local wild area she loved – the Dishman Hills. Anna Dvorak, 28, was killed in a fall as she led a route on the Elephant’s Perch in the Sawtooth Recreational Area near Stanley, Idaho.  Dvorak was a well-liked geography professor and a active member and climbing leader of the Spokane Mountaineers.

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A 430-pound male grizzly bear was trapped and collared for research north of Nordman, Idaho, in 2014.

People pose threat to Cabinets bears 

There’s good news and bad news for the remote population of grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak Mountains of northwest Montana. Although their numbers are climbing out of the “negative territory” for the first time in decades, wildlife officials say human-caused mortalities continue to plague the tenuous population, which is estimated to number around 50, with a projected growth of 1.4 percent annually.

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Jessica West and her daughter Lauren, 9, pick huckleberries with their dog George at Mount Spokane State Park on Wednesday. (Colin Mulvany)

Time is ripe for hounding huckleberries 16 

The same weather that brought a thin snowpack, early runoff and an explosive wildfire season has delivered something that is infinitely more positive: an early and flavorful huckleberry crop. Berries are now ripening at all elevations, and the word is getting out. Pickers are appearing on Inland Northwest slopes in good numbers.

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Rich Landers

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