Field reports: Idaho steelhead hitting upstream

FISHING – Steelhead with an urge to surge are making waves in Idaho’s Salmon River.

At Riggins, two-angler drift boats have been averaging 10 fish a day, said Brenda Baugh at Mountain River Outfitters.

The biggest fish in the Riggins derby, which runs through March, is nearly 35 inches long.

Farther upstream, the winter ice jam blew out of the Canyon Reach near North Fork last week and steelhead are pulsing toward the town of Salmon.

Anglers averaged three hours per fish kept last weekend, and Salmon-area biologist Tom Curet said the big portion of a massive run is still on its way.

Rich Landers

It’s prime time for trophy walleye

FISHING – ’Tis the season for Washington anglers to catch lunker walleyes loaded with eggs and owly enough to hit lures as they reach peak weight.

“This is the time of year I get calls on big walleye,” said Paul Hoffarth, Washington Fish and Wildlife biologist stationed near the trophy waters of the mid Columbia River.

On Saturday, Hoffarth officially measured a 19.14-pound walleye caught in McNary Pool (Lake Wallula) downstream from the confluence of the Snake River by Tri-Cities angler Kit Tripp.

“Beautiful, big female, less than 2 ounces off the state record,” Hoffarth said.

Ken Bain of Spokane caught a 14-pound, 7-ounce walleye near Fort Spokane on Feb. 20, two weeks after his fishing partner had caught a 10-pounder.

Rich Landers

Camp host needed for Bead Lake

NATIONAL FORESTS – The Newport Ranger District is accepting applications for volunteer host this season at Bead Lake Boat Launch nine miles northeast of Newport.

The host helps boat launch users and maintains the site Thursday through Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

In return, the host gets free camping with RV hookups, propane and $20 a day.

Details: Nan Berger, Recreation Specialist, Newport & Sullivan Lake Ranger Districts, (509) 447-7311; cell phone (509) 680-1115; e-mail nberger@fs.fed.us.

Rich Landers

Decline continues for Lolo elk herd

HUNTING – Elk numbers in Lolo Zone units 10 and 12 have declined 57 percent in the past four years, says an Idaho Fish and Game Department report form recent aerial surveys.

The greatest declines were observed in numbers of cows, calves and spike bulls.

The surveys, which are conducted every 3-5 years, mirror on-the-ground studies that have estimated annual declines of 11-15 percent.

Rich Landers

Trout Unlimited addresses issues

CONSERVATION – Mike Beagle of Trout Unlimited will present a program on the national group’s Sportsman’s Conservation Project –focused on keeping public lands intact and promoting responsible energy development – Tuesday, 7 p.m., at the Community Building, 35 W. Main.

Rich Landers

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Rich Landers

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