FISHING – For the first time since 1999, anglers will be allowed to harvest kokanee in Lake Pend Oreille starting in 2013 under fishing regulations adopted Thursday by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
The popular fishery has rebounded enough under a fisheries recovery program to allow anglers to keep up to six kokanee a day.
The kokanee increase will allow a move back toward trophy rainbow trout management. A size and bag limit will be reinstated for rainbows: six rainbow trout, only one more than 20 inches long.
The $15 per rainbow angler incentive will no longer be in effect, but the $15 bounty remains in place for lake trout.
The new rules will go into effect Jan. 1.
Elsewhere in the Panhandle Region, the kokanee limit was lowered to six fish in Priest and Upper Priest lakes. Clark Fork river and tributaries, Pack River and tributaries, and Grouse Creek and tributaries will be closed to trout harvest from Dec. 1 to the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend.
Jury: Outfitter negligent in bear mauling
HUNTING – A Park County jury found a Gardiner, Mont., outfitting business was negligent in the case of a California hunter who was mauled by a bear five years ago. But the business is not liable for the hunter’s $245,000 in medical bills because the negligence did not cause the injury.
The Livingston Enterprise reports the jury reached its verdict Thursday in a lawsuit filed by Virgil Massey of Barstow, Calif., against Montana Guide Service.
The victim said he was not offered bear spray or instructed in safety measures required for hunting in grizzly bear country even though three other hunters were mauled that fall.
The outfitter’s attorney argued the bear swiped Massey’s face so quickly that he wouldn’t have had time to use bear spray if he had it.
Carman says Massey was 500 yards away from his guide when the bear’s swipe crushed the bones around his eye, removed his nose, pulled an eyeball out of its socket and broke his jaw.
Wolf pack’s elimination on legislator’s agenda
WILDLIFE – A key Washington lawmaker says he’ll hold a hearing on the state Fish and Wildlife Department’s September decision to kill a pack of wolves that had been preying on cattle in northeast Washington.
Sen. Kevin Ranker of Orcas Island, who heads a committee overseeing the department, said he wants to clarify the policy on killing wolves to help ranchers.
The department says it had no choice but to remove the pack after it became accustomed to killing cattle instead of wild game in the Wedge area of Stevens County north of Kettle Falls.
Although wolves are protected by state endangered-species laws, the state has authority to remove wolves posing a threat to life or property.
Woodpeckers topic at Audubon program
BIRDING – Wildlife biologist Jeff Kozma, who specializes in cavity-nesting birds with the Yakama Nation, will present a program on the reproductive ecology of the white-headed woodpecker in Washington’s ponderosa pine forests on Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. at Riverview Retirement Community, Village Community Building, 2117 E. North Crescent Ave.
The program is sponsored by Spokane Audubon.
UPDATED with local reaction 2:05 p.m. PUBLIC LANDS -- Acting quickly after Monday's committee approval, the U.S. Senate today unanimously approved a bill to officially designate the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness ...