Field reports: Hydroplane buoy lines gradually coming out of lake
BOATING – Anchor lines that held buoys for the September Diamond Cup hydroplane races at Lake Coeur d’Alene are being removed after anglers complained of snagging and losing tackle and downrigger balls.
Under a permit from the Idaho Department of Lands, event organizers had until Dec. 2 to remove buoy lines that were attached to anchors. The Diamond Cup also is obligated to remove dock pilings put in place for the event, but a three-week extension was granted last week.
The 40 buoy anchors and tethers for the race course were removed in November. State officials said they gave organizer Doug Miller until Dec. 23 to remove remaining lines and would allow the pilings to stay in place until a long-term permit can be processed.
Twice as many chinook in spring forecast
FISHING – State, federal and tribal biologists predict an improved run of 227,000 spring chinook salmon will enter the Columbia River in 2014 headed for waters upstream of Bonneville Dam. That’s nearly twice as many as this year.
The Snake River could see a two-fold increase, too.
“It’s a good number, better than last year, but not up to what we’d like to see for the future,” said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Spring chinook forecasts for the Snake and Mid- and Upper Columbia rivers are the most anticipated numbers of the year among anglers. A good forecast fuels fishing optimism that sells tackle, bait, boats and trip bookings with guides.
In 2013, the Columbia River Technical Advisory Committee forecast a return of 141,400. The actual return was 123,100.
The forecast includes 209,700 4-year-olds, 16,600 5-year-olds and 700 6-year-olds.
The 2014 summer chinook forecast is 67,500 fish, about the same as this year.
Summer chinook pass Bonneville Dam between June 16 and July 31. They are larger than spring chinook and are mostly headed for the upper Columbia River in central Washington.
Winter Wonderland at Riverside State Park
CAMPING – Campfires, hay rides, live owls and hawks and light displays are planned Dec. 12-15 at Riverside State Park. Even the footbridge over the Spokane River will be lit up.
The Winter Wonderland event, geared for families, is a Friends of Riverside State Park fundraiser, with activities, treats and a Santa Claus visit each night, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Cost: $5, ages 3 and under free. Discover Pass requirements will be waived for the event.
Columbia River Treaty talks set for Monday
DEALING – Discussions on revising the Columbia River Treaty are picking up, as the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee plans a field hearing Monday, 9 a.m., in the Pasco City Council chambers to learn about regional impacts of the treaty with Canada.
Changes in the treaty could impact hydropower management and fishing.
Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the committee, has concerns about the upcoming renegotiation of the treaty and the United States’ recommendations for possible changes.