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Landers: Activities aplenty over Memorial weekend

Outdoors editor and columnist Rich Landers. (The Spokesman-Review)
Outdoors editor and columnist Rich Landers. (The Spokesman-Review)

If there’s a bright side to coming back to work after a holiday weekend, it’s hearing about all the outdoor adventures enterprising people survived in this great place we call the Inland Northwest.

My Facebook wall is plastered with memories of successful trips in a spectrum few places in the country can match.

People were hiking and camping from snowline down through the scablands, such as Ancient Lakes near Quincy, Wash.

Doug Leedy of Spokane reported he chose to be a little thirsty while hiking the last 4.5 miles of the 14-mile Odessa-Pacific Lake Trail in Lincoln County. A cow was standing inside the water trough at the only freshwater spring along the route, he said, noting that the cow wasn’t just standing there idly.

Being thirsty seemed a better alternative that giving his $360 Katadyn water filter a major test.

Climbers headed up into the lingering mountain snowpack to bag area peaks or make ski turns on north-facing corn-snow slopes.

Nils Larsen of Curlew was on the Kettle Crest aboard a pair of ski-snowshoe hybrids by Altai Skis, an innovation he brought back from several trips to the Altai Mountains of northern Asia.

His Hoks are short and wide with a climbing skin integrated into the base, a takeoff on the big boards fitted with horse skins used by the Asian mountain culture the long-time Karhu ski rep has filmed.

“It’s about the closest thing to a perfect spring backcountry traveling ski I’ve ever seen,” said Tom Kimbrell, who saw Larsen gobbling up the terrain while “ski-showing” near Sherman Pass.

“We believe the term ‘backcountry’ should include the patch of woods behind your house or the hills just out of town,” Larsen said.

And Larsen was virtually alone considering all the other avenues for the adventure-bound.

Hundreds of mountain bikers rode their hearts out day and night at the annual 24 Hours Round the Clock event at Riverside State Park.

Whitewater river rafters found prime conditions around the region, including the Spokane River, the Moyie River near Bonners Ferry and the St. Joe River.

Fishing reports have been getting better in every direction.

Kokanee fishing was excellent over the weekend in portions of Lake Coeur d’Alene, with especially good reports from anglers trolling flies for limits of foot-long silvers at Lake Mary Ronan in Western Montana.

The walleye bite was on in the Kettle Falls area of Lake Roosevelt, as reported by several families that enjoyed major-league Memorial Day fish fries.

The big plug of spring chinook salmon that swam over Lower Granite Dam on May 19 delivered the fish to anglers on the Clearwater River and up the Salmon River all the way to Riggins area.

The fishing has been so good on the Clearwater, Idaho Fish and Game announced Wednesday that salmon limits are being reduced. Starting Saturday, the daily limit will be four chinook, only one of which can be an adult.

Anglers taking advantage of lower, clear water and a pulse of fish have caught about 30 percent of the Clearwater’s quota. Lowering the catch and possession limits will help assure chinook fishing will continue into July.

Fish poaching activities also were abundant, judging by the holiday week enforcement report from Washington Fish and Wildlife police. Among the standout citations:

Three anglers were caught on the Tucannon River impoundments with 110 rainbow trout – just a wee bit over the five-trout-per-person daily limit.

Near Fishtrap and Hog Canyon lakes west of Spokane, officers found a smorgasbord of violations, including nonresident anglers with resident licenses, vehicles at boat launches without Discover Passes and anglers exceeding their trout limits. They also dealt with a rash of other things that gobble up Fish and Wildlife enforcement time, including drug users, illegal camping and illegal target shooting.

The most interesting citation of the week involved no fish and wildlife violations.

It started off routinely, as Officer Severin Erickson in Pend Oreille County followed up on an anonymous tip that a group of five people was fishing a closed creek.

The caller provided a vehicle description. Erickson quickly responded but was unable to locate anyone. The officer patrolled a nearby lake, but the suspects still eluded him.

When Erickson returned to the closed creek, he saw the suspect vehicle and five people just arriving to camp. During questioning, the group provided receipts showing they were in Newport at the time the call came in.

After a little more digging, the anonymous caller was identified and the case was solved.

Erickson confronted the caller and got him to admit he’d been in a tiff with his family earlier in the day because he wasn’t being invited on their annual camping trip.

What better way to get revenge than to sic a Fish and Wildlife cop on their party?

The caller was cited for making a false report.

Tags: outdoors