Bull trout featured in the International Fly Fishing Film Festival entry, Change of Pace. (International Fly Fishing Film Festival)
Bull trout featured in the International Fly Fishing Film Festival entry, Change of Pace. (International Fly Fishing Film Festival)

Field reports: Bull trout recovery; Green Mountain fire lookout; Spokane River cleanup; Costly illegal catch

FISHING – Conservation groups have filed a lawsuit in Portland demanding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finish developing recovery plans for bull trout, a threatened species that has gone 15 years without a blueprint for its survival.

Michael Garrity of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies says the service produced draft recovery plans about 10 years ago, but has not finished any of them.

Fish and Wildlife spokesman Brent Lawrence says the agency plans to offer new draft recovery plans this year.

The bull trout is not a trout, but a char. It has disappeared from half its historical range in Oregon, Washington, Montana and Nevada due to habitat loss from logging, mining, dams and livestock grazing.

Senate votes to save Green Mountain lookout

CABINS – The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a measure to save the popular Green Mountain fire lookout, which a federal judge has ordered removed from its perch in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell called for the expedited legislation, which passed Thursday. The House is expected to consider a companion bill next week.

The lookout was built in 1933, and the Forest Service used a helicopter and machinery to repair it in 2009. That prompted a lawsuit from a Montana-based environmental group: Such methods aren’t allowed in federal wilderness areas, the judge agreed.

The structure is popular with hikers, tourists and locals in nearby Darrington.

Groups to pick up along Spokane River

RIVERS – The Spokane Riverkeeper and Gonzaga University students are looking for help in a river cleanup project set for Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m. at the parking area upstream from T.J. Meenach Bridge.

Angler pleads guilty, loses world-record fish

FISHING – Rob Scott, the Minnesota angler who caught a potential 52-pound tip-up world-record lake trout on Feb. 8, pleaded guilty last week in Canada to keeping one lake trout over his limit.

Scott, 65, won’t get to keep the fish. He paid a $400 fine plus court costs amounting to about $75.

He caught the fish that unofficially weighed 52 pounds, 3 ounces, while fishing on the Ontario side of Lac La Croix northeast of Crane Lake, Minn. But Scott’s lake trout limit was one fish and he had already kept a 4-pounder.

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