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High Hopes For Walleye At Liberty

After a 1995 attempt to stock Liberty Lake with walleye failed, officials with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife are optimistic that a release last Friday will be more successful.

All 29,000 fragile fry died on a truck last summer before they reached Washington from hatcheries in Minnesota. This time, the department used 27,000 larger, more-mature fish in an effort to guarantee their survival in the Spokane Valley lake.

Following the early-afternoon release, biologists expect 75 to 90 percent of the fish to survive the winter. The Spokane Walleye Club contributed $1,000 to the $13,000 effort.

The walleye are expected to feast on Liberty’s large population of yellow perch, but the spiny-rayed transplants from the Midwest won’t reach their legal 18-inch limit until 1998 or 1999.

Idaho steelhead

Idaho Fish & Game officials said there is still a two-fish limit for anglers who buy the three-day steelhead license.

The section about the limit accidentally was omitted from the license, as well as the 1996 steelhead regulations. The mistake has led to confusion among anglers and at stores which sell the $31.50 license.

The license allows anglers to fish for three consecutive days, which must be selected at the time of purchase. Anglers who have purchased the regular Idaho license and a steelhead permit are allowed to keep up to 10 steelhead during the fall season.

Rotenone concerns

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to use rotenone to rehabilitate Blue Lake and Park Lake in Grant County later this month.

But after residents at the lakes raised concerns, a public meeting has been planned for Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Fine Arts Performing Center at Ephrata High School. The fish and wildlife department said experts will be on hand to explain the rehabilitation, including the effect rotenone will have on the shoreline ecosystem.

During the last 50 years, both popular trout-fishing lakes have been rehabilitated with rotenone a half-dozen times. Following October’s rehabilitation, the department plans to stock the lakes with fry.

Hunting access closures

Normal routes to some of the most beloved hunting grounds in Kittitas and Yakima counties will be closed this year after being damaged by spring flooding.

Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said a rock slide blocks the North Fork of the Manastash Creek Road in Kittitas County. Hunters can reach the area by using the Robinson Canyon Road, Joe Watt Canyon Road, or the Taneum Creek Road.

In addition, the Black Canyon and Hardy Canyon roads in the Wenas Valley and the Oak Creek Road in Yakima County’s Oak Creek Wildlife Area are closed. The Mellotte Bridge now provides the only access to Hardy Canyon, and the Black Canyon area can be reached via Umtanum Ridge Road.

The Oak Creek Wildlife Area is accessible by Bethel Ridge and Rattlesnake Creek roads. Repairs on many damaged roads won’t be complete until next spring.

Construction alert

Drivers in the Avery and St. Joe Ranger districts on Loop Creek Road 326 and Cliff Creek Road 504 in Idaho should expect delays of up to an hour as crews repair damage caused by last spring’s floods.

There will be heavy truck traffic on the two roads in the Loop Creek, Cliff Creek, and Moss Creek areas for the rest of October and in early November from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For updates on the traffic situation, telephone (208) 245-2531 in St. Maries and (208) 245-4517 in Avery.

, DataTimes

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