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Out & About: More highlights in 2011 outdoors

Sage grouse produced chicks in Lincoln County. (Associated Press)
Sage grouse produced chicks in Lincoln County. (Associated Press)

More highlights in 2011 outdoors

OUTFIELD – Notable additions to last week’s 2011: The Year Outdoors:


Sage grouse strutted on a mating ground (lek) in Lincoln County for the first time since 1986. Chicks were produced and some survived through summer.

2011 was the third year of a Washington Fish and Wildlife Department reintroduction effort around Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area south of Creston. The 37 birds last spring bring the total to 144 sage grouse from Oregon released in Lincoln County since 2008.

A record 273 bald eagles were counted Dec. 29 as they feasted on a big run of spawning kokanee at Lake CdA’s Wolf Lodge Bay.


Retired: Cal Groen, Idaho Fish and Game Department director after 21 years with the agency.

Promoted: Virgil Moore, 59, from deputy director for field operations to director of the Idaho Fish and Game Department after 34 years in wildlife management.

Angling shops offer fly-tying, rod classes

OUTDO – Two local fly-fishing shops have set winter fly-tying classes, plus one for rod building.

Silver Bow Fly Shop in Spokane Valley, 924-9998, has classes in beginner, advanced and steelhead tube fly tying during evenings in January. A special class in tying flies for the Spokane River is set 10 a.m. Jan. 28.

Westslope Fly Shop, 838-0252, near Hamilton and Trent, has a series of fly-tying classes that can be taken individually, Wednesday evenings, Jan. 18 through mid-April.

The classes range from beginning to advanced in a wide range of flies.

• Fly-rod-building classes start Jan. 19 and Feb. 16, taught by Steve Moran.

Oregon, Washington wolf numbers up

OUTCOUNT – According to recent surveys, Oregon and Washington hold similar numbers of wolves.

Washington documented at least 27 wolves in five packs with at least three breeding pairs at the end of 2011. Biologists note the numbers are minimums.

Oregon biologists found a new gray wolf in December, bringing the state’s known population to 25.

Photos captured by an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife remote camera show the Wenaha pack that roams the Oregon-Washington border produced a pup earlier this year.

With confirmation that the Wenaha pack had a pup in western Wallowa County, state biologists say all of Oregon’s four wolf packs reproduced in 2011.

The packs are all in the state’s rugged northeastern corner.

King weekend free at WA state parks

OUTDEAL – Free entry to Washington State Parks is being offered for the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, Friday-Monday – no Discover Pass required.

Sno-Park permits will still be required at Mount Spokane Sno-Park lots.