Field reports: Horses help stock trout in high lakes

SUNDAY, AUG. 3, 2014

FISHING – It’s an off-year for stocking and a prime year for fishing high lakes on national forest land in the Cascades near White Pass.

Every other summer, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staffers load fish – last year the tally was 825 two-month-old cutthroat trout – into plastic containers and drive more than 60 miles from the Mossyrock Fish Hatchery to White Pass.

From the trailhead off U.S. Highway 12, the real work begins.

The fish are loaded onto horses and mules and transported up, into the mountains, to be deposited in remote mountain lakes.

Muscle-powered hikers this year are catching fish stocked last year (and previous years) by the mounted fisheries staff, the 315 fish hand-stocked into Snow Lake, 310 into Pipe Lake and 200 into Jess Lake.

About a half-dozen stocking days are conducted each year in the area, some by horseback, four-wheeler and the others by helicopter to stock lakes a horse can’t reach.

Though the task requires significant labor, time and expense, planting fish in the high mountain lakes is part of a long tradition in rural Washington.

“Lakes are stocked for the hikers who frequent the lakes, people looking for that outdoor experience,” said Tim Summers, a fish hatchery specialist.

“If they’ve been camping and then they’re able to cast their rods, reel in a couple fish and cook them for dinner - that’s the whole experience.”

Tree farm site for farm forestry event

HABITAT – The public is invited to learn how small-farm forestry can benefit wildlife and the environment at a multi-generational tree farm at an Aug. 9 event near Colville.

Visitors also will have the option to catch-and-release trout in a private pond.

The Northeast Chapter of the Washington Farm Forestry Association is sponsoring its Forest Owners Field Day, this year set at the 600-acre Dominion Tree Farms at the west foot of Old Dominion Mountain east of Colville.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. and continuing through mid-afternoon, participants will visit five distinct locations with a unique story and history – from Western larch planted just a few years ago to ponderosa pines planted in 1985 to an experimental hardwood tree stand.

Owners will showcase their practice of “patch cuts” as an alternative to clear-cutting, said Randall Hansen, chapter president.

Attendees should bring a sack lunch and camp chair. Water and other refreshments will be provided.

Following the tour, catch-and-release fishing will be allowed on Lake Rosanna, a private 18-acre lake planted with trout.

The WFFA is a nonprofit organization of and for forest landowners in Washington who own from a few acres to thousands as well as industry professionals. Emphasis is on managing the private forests for timber, other forest products, wildlife, fish, recreation and aesthetics. 

Dominion Tree Farms is one of the nearly 90,000 small private forestland owners across the state, with private ownership totaling about 5 million acres out of Washington’s 22.1 million acres of forestland.

Info: (509) 936-3842, wafarmforestry.com.

Lake Quinault reopens for fishing, paddling

WATERSPORTS – Lake Quinault on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula has reopened for summer activities including fishing and boating after a brief hiatus.  

Lake Quinault Lodge, located just steps from the lake and in the heart of a temperate rainforest, will again offer fishing, boat rentals and tours of the lake. Guests can now enjoy the glacier-carved lake via a variety of vessels including canoes, kayaks, row boats or the comfort of a guided boat tour offering visitors a thorough history of the area, views of beautiful waterfalls, record breaking trees and a variety of native wildlife.

Olympic National Park also lists trails and other attractions in the area.

The Lake, located within the boundaries of the Quinault Indian Reservation, was closed in April 2013 due to concern related to water pollution, invasive species, public safety and the need to protect and restore salmon habitat, particularly Blueback salmon.  It reopened, for swimming only, last year but as of April 26, 2014 it has reopened for all summer activities.

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