A hiker fly-fishes for trout just before sunset at Basin Lake in the Seven Devils portion of the Hells Canyon Wilderness. (Rich Landers)

Guns, rods & wilderness: Backcountry sportsmen convene in Spokane 

Sportsmen hooked on the rewards of hunting and fishing beyond roads and rigs are dropping their packs in Spokane this week. The 4th annual North American Rendezvous of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) will convene at the Red Lion in the Park on Friday and Saturday. The schedule includes a brewfest, workshops, banquets, keynote address by a TV hunting show host, a film presented by an ethicist and other programs open to the public for the price of a ticket.

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TV host: Hunting effort key to satisfaction

In the world of TV sportsman shows, at least one star is trying to avoid skewing the reality of hunting and fishing. “I try to paint the real image of public land hunting on my show,” said Randy Newberg of Bozeman, TV host and producer of Fresh Tracks and On Your Own Adventures on the Sportsman Channel.

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Chuck Littlecrow of the Kalispel Tribe removes pike from a Pend Oreille River gillnet. (Rich Landers)

Field reports: Pend Oreille River pike netting starts

FISHING – State and tribal workers will begin setting gillnets Monday for another season of suppressing non-native northern pike in the Pend Oreille River downstream from Newport. The Kalispel Tribe in cooperation with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will deploy nets where pike congregate Monday through Friday until May.

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 (Kathy Plonka)

Out & About: Tundra swans lead parade of migrants 

OUTHERE – February’s unseasonably warm weather kick-started spring bird migrations into the region. Among the largest and most obvious are the tundra swans that have been finding open water from Eastern Washington into the Silver Valley of North Idaho. Swan movements farther north aren’t likely to kick into high gear for awhile, and this week’s colder weather could freeze up some of their resting waters.

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THURSDAY, FEB. 26, 2015

Alan Liere: ‘Snuff flicks’ spoil reverence of deer hunting for profit 

March is one of my least favorite months. Ice fishing is over, as are all bird and deer hunting seasons. In March, I can peruse garden catalogs until the pages are tattered, clean guns and oil reels and watch the ground turn muddy. Fishing is still good at Lake Roosevelt, but if I need a hunting fix in March, there are only the hunting shows on TV. I dislike hunting shows and I hate myself if I watch one. Deer hunting shows are the worst – “snuff flicks” I call them, where a wild animal dies for entertainment and profit.

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Weekly hunting and fishing report 

Fly fishing Sunday is the opener in the Quincy Wildlife Area. Lenice and Nunnally didn’t get much attention last season and could be very good this year. There are big rainbow and some browns in these lakes. Dusty Lake has also been popular over the years with fly fishermen looking for large rainbow, browns and tiger trout. It is a walk-in lake.

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Recipe: Elk sombre marsala over penne

Elk is simply a step above – both in terms of the hunt, and its flavor. Should any big-game hunter find himself or herself in a quandary over what to do with all that delicious elk meat in the freezer, I offer a partial solution. The real essence of this recipe lies in the sauce. Please note this sombre Marsala cream sauce pairs fantastically with any pasta utilizing red meat – venison, beef, buffalo, most forms of sausage.

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In brief: Free fishing seminars scheduled for local anglers

Anglers can pick up useful local information on fishing techniques at free seminars scheduled this month in the Inland Northwest. Six bass and walleye seminars are scheduled on Saturday during the February Fishing Frenzy at Spokane Valley Marine, 7915 E. Sprague. The presentations will be made by area anglers as well as Bassmaster pro John Murray.

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Bill Jennings: Shift in omega block weather pattern presents hope for area ski conditions 

Scarce powder days have left me with recreational space to fill. Unseasonable cycling opportunities have made riding a special treat. Yet I can’t help thinking as we mountain bikers enjoy firm, tacky terrain in February, will we be eating July-flavored dust in April? Things could be about to change. Recently a friend of mine turned me on to the Cliff Mass Weather Blog ( Mass, a University of Washington atmospheric scientist, provides a running commentary on climate, with clear explanations about why we’ve experienced spring in the middle of winter.

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SUNDAY, FEB. 22, 2015

Increase in St. Joe elk good news for hunters 

Surveys conducted this winter showed a substantial increase in elk calf-cow ratios for elk in portions of North Idaho as the region’s elk seem to be digging out of a six-year slump. Snow and weather conditions have not cooperated so far for aerial surveys in Units 1 and 4 of far northern Idaho, but biologists are encouraged by what they’ve found among the prized herds in the St. Joe region.

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A bull elk managed his harem in Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge last fall. One of the cow elk is wearing a radio collar for research on the refuge herd.

Turnbull elk reduction win-win for refuge, hunters 

After five years, the once-controversial decision to allow elk hunting on Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge appears to be a win-win-win for the refuge, wildlife and hunters. The number of elk packing onto portions of the 18,217-acre refuge has been reduced, giving the wildlife habitat they were destroying a chance to regenerate.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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