August 23, 2009 in Outdoors

Out & About

 
File photo

A crawdad crawls in the shallows of the Spokane River near the Sandifur Bridge west of Spokane.
(Full-size photo)

Even ‘play dams’ are bad for fish

OUTLAW – Rock dams built by kids and campers to create swimming areas in streams can be a death trap to migrating fish.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staffers often dismantle these “recreational dams,” which can produce a warm-water barrier or physically block passage to salmon, steelhead and bull trout moving upstream to spawn.

In Yakima County, for example, the problem is especially acute near campgrounds on Rattlesnake and Crow creeks and the Teanaway, American and Little Naches rivers.

Building an unauthorized dam of any sort across a river or stream is a violation of state hydraulics law.

Poor man’s lobster in Lake Roosevelt

OUTSTANDING – Crawfish, crayfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsterettes – the names all refer to the same tasty crustacean found in the region’s lakes and rivers.

Lake Roosevelt is an overlooked hot spot, says Chris Donley, area fisheries biologist.

Here’s how to harvest a feast:

Bait a trap with chicken gizzards, fish remains or a perforated can of cat food and let it soak overnight in 15-40 feet of water near rocks or woody debris.

License: None needed in Washington.

Season: May-October.

Rules: No more than five pots per person. Crawdads must be at least 31/4 inches long to be kept.

Limit: 10 pounds in the shell.

Map a course for success

OUTBOUND – Hunters and other outdoorsmen planning fall trips can get a head start by stopping at Northwest Map and Travel Book Center in downtown Spokane.

The store is stuffed with maps and guidebooks for the Inland Northwest and beyond. Hunters in particular can benefit from three types of maps:

•Washington Recreation Map, by Benchmark Publishing, is a large-scale overview map that shows roads and game management units, parks, monuments, wildlife areas and other public lands along with important points such as campgrounds and boat launches.

•Washington state public lands quadrangle maps by the Department of Natural Resources are more detailed sources for roads and public land ownership. At 1:100,000, scale, it takes 48 of these maps to cover the state. (Updated maps are available this year.)

•Topographical maps produced on a much smaller scale by the U.S. Geological Survey are the most detailed resource for pinpointing ridges, benches, trails, creek sources, bogs and pockets that hold elk and potential hunting spots.

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