SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 2015

Warm June has western Montana anglers scrambling to enjoy good conditions 60 

Western Montana anglers have reported some of the best early summer fishing they’ve seen in years in the past week, but they’re bracing for an early end of the season, too. “We’ve been telling our out-of-state customers exactly what the conditions are, and our late-July and August bookings are nonexistent,” said Matt Potter of Kingfisher Fly Shop in Missoula.

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After 10 days enjoying the towns and scenery of northern Washington, Nick Deshais reaches Sandpoint, the end of his Route 10 journey. On the Web: Browse a large-format photo gallery of Deshais’ journey online at (Dan Pelle)

Blazing a trail: U.S. Bicycle Route 10 burnishes Washington’s standing as most bike-friendly state in the union

In a forest of blackened spires, the recent victims of the largest wildfire in Washington’s history, I climbed toward Loup Loup Pass on two wheels, breathing heavy and dripping sweat. A cardboard box on the side of the road stopped me. It was illustrated with a bicycle ascending the steep incline of Loup Loup, flames licking its tires. “Cold Water,” the box read, describing its contents. “Hot Hot.”

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Weekly hunting and fishing report

Fly fishing The Icicle River above the Snow Creek Trailhead in Central Washington is an excellent place to cast for small but hungry trout. A “big” one might go 12 inches, but for lots of action, or for beginning fly fishermen, the Icicle is hard to beat.

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Time to thaw: Minimal snowpack remains at 8,300 feet elevation in central Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness as Ed Shaw stands at Baron Lake. The photo looks west toward 10,000-foot Monte Verita Spires, left, and 10,201-foot Warbonnet Peak, right. (Bob Drzymkowski photo)

Photo: Serene Scene in the Spring

Time to thaw: Minimal snowpack remains at 8,300 feet elevation in central Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness as Ed Shaw stands at Baron Lake. The photo looks west toward 10,000-foot Monte Verita Spires, left, and 10,201-foot Warbonnet Peak, right.

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Weekend weather: Searing heat wave expected

Anyone seeking relief from this weekend’s heat might consider heading to the hills, or in this case, the highest elevations of the Inland Northwest. Highs at lower elevations will start out today in the lower and middle 90s and then go to the middle and upper 90s Friday before sizzling weather arrives for the weekend through Monday.

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Anglers line up for the Governor’s Cup Walleye tourney on Lake Roosevelt.

Anglers ready to compete in 23rd annual Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament this weekend on Lake Roosevelt

The Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament on Lake Roosevelt was held in July when it debuted 23 years ago. “It was moved it to June to avoid the hot weather,” laughed George Allen, noting the forecast of temperatures above 100 degrees for this weekend’s event. “I’ll have ice in the cooler, the live well and in my underwear,” he said, the veteran of all but one of the annual tournaments.

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Volunteers put a four-wheeler to use on Naches Trail restoration project.

Trail users participate in maintenance and upkeep, allowing for earlier opening dates.

NACHES, Wash. – For much of May, the trails designated for motorized use within the Naches Ranger District were under surveillance. Forest Service staffers and volunteers from organized four-wheel-drive and motorcycle clubs were scrutinizing those routes to see if, in light of this year’s relatively dry spring, the Forest Service might be prudent to open them three weeks ahead of schedule – in time for Memorial Day weekend.

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SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 2015

Field reports: Majority support grizzly restoration in Cascades 

ENDANGERED – A majority of people and organizations who commented on an environmental impact statement studying the restoration of grizzly bears in the North Cascades favor the return of the bear. The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the report last week, providing an analysis of about 3,000 public comments received during the first phase of developing the environmental impact statement. The U.S. Forest Service and state Department of Fish and Wildlife are cooperating agencies.

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Volunteers work on Trail 100 above the Spokane River during a National Trails Day project last Sunday.

Volunteers clean up, widen area trails

About 100 volunteers turned out last Sunday to brave the heat and dust as they put their muscle into upgrading Trail 100 in Riverside State Park. The National Trails Day local service event was sponsored by REI, which also announced a 2015 grant of $20,000 to support the park’s volunteer coordinator, who plans other park projects.

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Low water left Fourth of July Lake boat launch dry this winter.

Water management affects every living thing

California is dominating the headlines in this year’s drought, but other western states, including Washington, also have costly major ongoing issues with water management. Everyone’s affected in one way or another, and so are fish and wildlife. The latest expensive water delivery project in the Columbia Basin is related to the unsustainable deep-well “groundwater mining” that’s been lowering the water table in the Odessa Sub Area for decades.

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Nick Deshais takes in the moment Friday on Bridge Street as he finishes his cross-state bicycle ride from Anacortes, Wash., to Sandpoint. (Dan Pelle)

Cross-state bike trek yields a story ridden 13 

SANDPOINT – Ten days and 449 miles ago, I loaded my bike with bags and gear at the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, steeling myself to ride across the state to Sandpoint. My mind was clogged with misgivings, fears that my legs weren’t up for the journey. Or worse, that my backbone – the figurative one – wasn’t.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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Glacier offers cool fishing alternative

FISHING/HIKING -- It will cost you a little sweat and exertion, but you can find COOL places to fish, even in the record-high temperatures the region has suffered for the ...

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