Field Reports: Chapman Lake public access proposed

FISHING – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has proposed buying land and developing a public access to Chapman Lake in Spokane County.

Once a popular fishing destination, the 128-acre lake near Cheney has been inaccessible to the public since 2011, when the private resort that provided access was closed.

The state has helped maintain the kokanee fishery on the prospect that public access could someday be restored, said John Whalen, regional fisheries manager.

The property owner has offered to sell 80 acres for an access, he said.

The property is bordered on three sides by Washington Department of Natural Resources land.

Proposal details are online, wdfw.wa.gov/lands/acquisitions

Submit public comments by March 21 by email to  teamspokane@dfw.wa.gov.

Northern pike seminar set

FISHING – Jeff Smith of Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop in Coeur d’Alene will discuss fishing tactics for northern pike to kick off the eighth annual Mark’s Marine spring fishing seminar series Thursday, 6:30 p.m., at 14355 N. Government Way in Hayden.

Other free seminars to be held on Thursdays through April 10 will cover topics such as walleye, steelhead, salmon, bass and electronics.

Info: (208) 772-9038.

Spokanite on salmon panel

FISHING – Samantha Mace of Spokane was named to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the state Recreation and Conservation Office says.

Mace is the area director for the Save our Wild Salmon Coalition.

The Washington Legislature created the five-member Salmon Recovery Funding Board in 1999. The board provides grants to protect or restore salmon habitat.

Since its start, the board has awarded $564 million for more than 2,280 projects statewide.

Invasive mussels near Idaho

BOATING – With Utah finding more quagga mussels in Lake Powell, the invasives are more likely to find their way to Idaho, said Lee Mabey, a forest fisheries biologist with the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

Mabey is trying to raise awareness of the problem before people travel south for spring break.

Idaho Department of Agriculture’s five years of boat inspections show Lake Powell is the mussel-fouled water body most frequently visited by Idaho boaters. Many of these vessels posing a significant risk of transporting larval or adult mussels to the Gem State.

In 2013, Idaho inspected 568 boats that had recently come from Mead, Powell, Mohave, Havasu or Pleasant lakes. All those waters have mussels.

Idaho does not, and officials are keen on keeping it that way.

If quagga or zebra mussels take hold in Idaho, the state’s lake fisheries will be forever changed and the irrigation and hydropower industry could face millions of dollars in added expenses, Mabey said.

Quagga mussels are prolific breeders and attach themselves to hard and soft surfaces. Once in a lake, they filter plankton from the water, robbing fish of food.

“We need everybody to take part in prevention,” he said. “We can’t rely on just inspection stations. We need to have a change in mentality of all users. Just like anglers have adopted catch-and-release regulation, we need boaters and all water users to adopt clean, drain and dry after each excursion.”

Liberty prime for browns

FISHING – Liberty Lake, one of the select lakes in Eastern Washington that opened to fishing on Saturday, is known for providing a special opportunity in the first weeks of the season.

Brown trout that hunker in deep water most of the year move into the shallows for warmer water and feed. This is one of the best times of the year to catch them.

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