STATE PARKS —The road to the summit of Mount Spokane opened for vehicle traffic this weekend.
The park road currently is open daily, but once road construction starts, probably after July 4, the public will be allowed to drive into the park only Fridays through Sundays, said state park manager Steve Christensen.
Around August, he said, the road would be closed seven days a week while crews install a culvert.
The park campground will be closed this summer while the restrooms are renovated. The picnic areas and trails will be open throughout the summer.
Big bass caught near Noxon
FISHING — An 8.8-pound largemouth bass caught in Noxon Rapids Reservoir has been verified as a Montana state record, according to the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.
Darin Williams of Pinehurst, Idaho, caught the 22.5-inch fish on May 2 during a bass fishing tournament. The previous state record was a 8.29-pound bass caught at Many Lakes east of Kalispell in 1999.
Williams released the fish after the weigh-in.
Lakes reaching summer levels
WATER SPORTS — Dam-controlled lakes in the Inland northwest have absorbed most spring runoff and are being stabilized at summer levels.
Lake Pend Oreille, controlled by Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District at Albeni Falls Dam, is at about 2,061 feet above sea level and headed to nearly 2,062 by the end of June.
Lake Roosevelt, controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation at Grand Coulee Dam, is at about 1,283 feet and heading up to about 1,290 by July.
Lake Coeur d’Alene, controlled by Avista Utilities at Post Falls Dam, is just a few inches shy of normal summer pool of 2,128 feet. The spill gates at Post Falls Dam were closed Friday.
Lake Spokane (Long Lake) has reached summer levels of 1,535-1,536 feet.
•The Spokane River between Harvard and Barker roads may be opened this week. Hazards remain at Barker construction.
UI investigates bighorn study
WILDLIFE — The University of Idaho is investigating whether the head of its Caine Veterinary Teaching and Research Center suppressed information from a 1994 study that indicates bighorn sheep can get deadly diseases directly from domestic sheep on open range.
The center’s leader, Marie Bulgin, is a past president of the Idaho Wool Growers Association. She has testified before Idaho lawmakers and in federal court that there is no evidence of such disease transmission.
Disease transmission between bighorns and domestic sheep is a sore subject in Idaho, where Payette National Forest managers are considering reducing domestic sheep grazing allotments near Hell’s Canyon to protect bighorns reintroduced there in 1971. Ranchers are fighting the proposal in court.