As a result of this year’s low winter mortality rates, the number of special permits that will be issued for whitetail deer in northeast Washington will increase to 4,100 from last year’s 3,525.
In contrast, special permits for mule deer in North Okanogan County will decrease to 310 from last year’s 720 due to high winter mortality rates.
No special permits will be issued for antlerless elk in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Washington, except in the Mill Creek Watershed, to allow the elk population to recover.
Because of the success experienced by elk hunters last year in the Yakima and Colockum hunting areas, only 2,620 special permits will be issued for antlerless elk and 1,015 will be issued for bull elk to modern firearm and muzzleloader hunters, both about half the number issued last year.
Other quota changes:
Moose - A slight increase of moose permits to 25 from last year’s 19 was approved, while permits for bighorn sheep dropped from 17 to 14.
Auction permits - For the third consecutive year, the commission authorized an auction of bighorn sheep and elk permits for 1996 with proceeds used to manage the species.
Mountain goats - The number of permits issued for mountain goats will be 126, down from last year’s 162, due to harsh winter conditions in the North Central Cascades that contributed to high mortality rates.
Cougar - The number of permits issued to hound hunters for cougars will increase from last year’s 365 to 446 due to a steady growth of the cougar population in recent years and landowner complaints about the animals.
Otherwise, permit quotas for the upcoming 1995-96 hunting season are similar to those for the 1994-95 season.
Hunters were required to apply for a special permit by March 31 for the 1995-96 season; successful applicants will be chosen randomly by a computer.
Applicants will be notified in writing whether they were selected for a special permit by May 31.
Drawdowns on behind Grand Coulee Dam have raised havoc with fishermen on Lake Roosevelt in the past week.
Water levels dropped 10 feet from April 24 through May 1 in order to provide higher flows for migrating salmon in the lower Columbia River, said Craig Sprankle, Bureau of Reclamation spokesman in Grand Coulee.
“We’re releasing whatever it takes to maintain 220,000 cubic feet per second at McNary Dam,” he said.
Rapid drawdowns are notorious for turning off the bite for everything from kokanee to walleyes - prime attractions to Lake Roosevelt anglers.
Sprankle said the lake level probably would continue to drop until about mid-May.
“I hesitate to predict where it will bottom out,” he said, “but I suspect it will be around 1,247 feet. That’s low enough to put many boat launching ramps out of water.”
On Tuesday, the lake level was 1,257 feet.
From mid-May, the lake should gradually start filling again until it reaches the summer operating range of 1,283-1,288 feet around July 1, he said.
“In early July, it probably will start dropping again as we continue to release water for salmon through August,” Sprankle said.
For recorded updates on Lake Roosevelt levels, boat launching status and other recreational information, call (509) 633-3838.
The Colville National Forest will host three fishing derbies and a fishing festival:
Kettle Falls and Colville - These Ranger Districts will co-host the earliest derby, May 13 at Lake Ellen. Info: (509) 738-6111 or (509) 684-7020.
Republic - Also on May 13, the Republic Ranger District will have its fishing derby at Swan Lake. Info: (509) 775-3305.
Sullivan Lake - At Crescent Lake, the Sullivan Lake Ranger District will host the May 20 fishing festival that will include fishing for both children and seniors and a storytelling session. Info: (509) 446-7500.
Newport - During National Fishing Week, June 5-11, the Newport Ranger District will have a fishing derby at South Skookum Lake. No fishing licenses will be required during the week and for the derby, June 10, which is intended for children and seniors. Info: (509) 447-7300.
Horse packing clinic
The Northeast Washington Fairgrounds in Colville will host a horse packing clinic Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m., and Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m.
Fees for the clinic are $20; $10 for children ages 12-16 and 4H members. Info: 509-684-2263, 684-3373 or 684-4809.