Out & About: Anglers trashing privilege at West Medical Lake

SUNDAY, AUG. 24, 2014

OUTCAST – Fishermen may be trashing their privileges to a fishing access at West Medical Lake.

The north end of the lake is regularly fouled with litter such as bait containers, food wrappers and lure packages despite repeated cleanup efforts.

“It’s one of those cases of a few people ruining it for the majority,” said Randy Osborne, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife district fisheries biologist.

While the agency owns the public fishing access at the south end of the lake, the informal access at the north end is state land managed by Washington State Veterans Cemetery.

“There’s a tremendous garbage problem the cemetery workers have tolerated for a long time,” he said. “They’ve cleaned it up and our people have picked up, but there’s a percentage of people who use that site that won’t pack out what they pack in and it’s taking a toll.

“Cemetery workers are at the end of their rope on this. Access to that site is a privilege that anglers are going to lose if they don’t clean up their act.”

West Medical’s fishing season closes Sept. 30.

Big salmon run creates crowding

OUTFISH – Marinas, campgrounds and parking areas are often jam- packed with anglers as the biggest run of fall chinook salmon heads into the lower Columbia River.

Anglers are parking anywhere space is available. “There is a guy charging $10 a day just to park. His yard is always full,” says a campground host in Chinook, Washington, posted on an iFish online chat room.

Established facilities feel the strain: “It is almost impossible to control access here,” he said. “We have people come in off the street to use showers, facilities, fish-cleaning station. …

“The garbage is taken twice a week. There were so many fish carcasses that one can fell off the truck and they had to call a service truck to get it removed. These cans are big, about 5-foot diameter and almost 5-foot tall.”

Cougar kitten heads for big stage

OUTREACH – A 3-week-old mountain lion kitten orphaned in northeastern Washington is headed for a zoo, and that’s not all bad, state Fish and Wildlife Department officials say.

“Education is important at American Zoological Association-accredited zoos, which have on-site staff to teach visitors about the natural history of these critters,” said department cougar specialist Rich Beausoleil.

The kitten will be transported to a zoo in Pennsylvania, joining 32 cougar kittens from Washington that have been rescued over 12 years and placed to live out captive lives in zoos across the country.

These mountain lions are relocated to urban areas where they’re seen each year by 17 million people who otherwise would never have the chance see a cougar.

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