Field reports: Pike netting continues on Pend Oreille River
FISHING – More than 5,200 northern pike have been gillnetted out of the Pend Oreille River downstream from Newport this spring. But anglers may still hook fish from the 10-15 percent of the former pike population remaining in Box Canyon Reservoir, says Jason Connor, Kalispel Tribe biologist.
“We are still grinding away at the netting,” he said Thursday, describing the project with the state to curtail numbers of the non-native predators.
“Catch has been down, but consistent. We are now catching far more juvenile fish aged 1-2.
“We haven’t seen a lot of anglers out on the water lately. The river is still really high – elevation 2,040 feet, which is 9 feet above base flows. Water is still relatively cold.”
Bass angling should be affected little by the pike netting, he said. Meantime, pike can still be caught in the riverside sloughs.
“As the water warms and elevation drops in June, anglers should target the weed beds in the main channel in the central part of the reservoir.
“If I were headed out, I would fish Boundary Reservoir launching at Metaline Park and heading upstream. The side channels and backwaters between there and around Selkirk School surely have fish in them.”
Pike fishing derbies with fun events and prizes are planned for June 29-July 1 and Aug. 3-5. Info: kalispeltribe.com/northern-pike.
Sea lions show up above Bonneville
FISHERIES – California sea lions are leaving their original saltwater hunting areas to chase fish inland as they go up the Columbia River.
About four of the big marine mammals this year have managed to find their way up the Columbia 146 miles from the Pacific Ocean to cross above Bonneville Dam.
Sea lions have in recent years increased their presence in the waters below Bonneville Dam, feeding on salmon and steelhead spawners staging to climb over the dam.
More recently they’ve been seen at The Dalles Dam, which is another 45 miles upstream from Bonneville.
Tribal spokesman say the sea lions have been raising hell at tribal gillnets in the area.
Oregon divvies $82K for wolf prevention
PREDATORS – The Oregon Agriculture Department says eight eastern Oregon counties are dividing more than $82,000 for wolf damage to livestock and prevention efforts.
Department spokesman Bruce Pokarney says Wallowa, Union, Baker and Umatilla counties are receiving 86 percent of the money appropriated by the Legislature.
Wallowa is the only one of the eight counties to experience actual livestock deaths or injuries due to wolves. It has been awarded more than $13,000 to compensate ranchers. Pokarney says Wallowa County also received $25,000 for prevention.
In all, $66,500 from the block grant program will pay for non-lethal efforts, including such things as attaching flags to fences to keep wolves away from livestock.
Other counties receiving money include Malheur, Grant, Jefferson and Crook. State biologists say Oregon has 28 known gray wolves in four packs.
$6M critter crossing planned at Redmond
WILDLIFE – King County plans to spend about $6 million building an overpass just for wildlife near Redmond, Wash.
Planners hope deer, elk, coyotes and cougars will use the overpass to cross Novelty Hill Road to avoid vehicle collisions. Most of the funding comes from a Federal Highway Administration grant.
Free fishing in Idaho
FISHING – Idaho Fish and Game’s Take Me Fishing Trailer, with free gear to loan for novice anglers, is scheduled to be at numerous North Idaho lakes through the rest of May and June. No license is required during the events. Info: (208) 769-1414