FISHING – As Columbia River sockeye salmon set records this week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife increased the daily limit of sockeye from four to six in the river upstream from Priest Rapids Dam.
The red-fleshed fish already are marching through the river where anglers are intercepting them at hot spots such as the Handford Reach, Wanapum Dam, and Wells Dam. They’re also showing up in the Brewster area.
This week, the joint federal-state-tribal Technical Advisory Council increased the forecast to a total of 526,367 sockeye over Bonneville – a jump of 10,694 fish from the record run in 2012.
Some fisheries biologists are suggesting the number could soar to more than 600,000.
More than 19,000 sockeye were tallied up the Bonneville Dam fish ladders on Tuesday.
Cougar incidents keep wildlife officers busy
CRITTERS – Cougars were conspicuously on the prowl last weekend in the Spokane area, resulting in dead llamas and a dead cougar.
On July 4, Mike Sprecher, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police officer, investigated the scene where two llamas apparently were killed by cougars near the Newman Lake public fishing access.
On July 5, Sprecher responded to a cougar in a tree near a home just south of Newman Lake, reported by a woman concerned for the safety of her kids and pets. The cat was gone when the officer arrived.
Sprecher received several night calls on July 5 of cougar sightings in the Five Mile area.
After more reports called in on July 6, Sprecher and Spokane Police officers followed a tip to a cougar in a tree near Salk Middle School in northwest Spokane.
The cougar was euthanized to avoid a risky after-dark attempt to tranquilize and relocate the animal, he said.
In the previous week, officers also responded to a possible cougar attack on goats in the West Plains, and five goats were killed in a cougar attack in Ferry County, where the landowner was given a permit to kill the cat if caught in the act again, officers said.
Colville Forest staff leads lookout hike
FORESTS – Hikes and other free activities are being organized by the Colville National Forest to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday and the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
The next NatureWatch summer event is Saturday:
• Hike a 7-mile round-trip to Columbia Mountain Fire Lookout on the Kettle Crest with forest archeologist Alicia Beat. Meet at the Kettle Crest parking area off Highway 20 at 9 a.m. Trail is moderately difficult with 1,400 feet of elevation gain.
Participants should bring water, lunch and a pack with clothes for the weather.
Jail time sought for Banks fish-netters
FISHING – A Grant County jury this week found four Western Washington men guilty of illegally netting 194 whitefish out of Banks Lake on Dec. 5, 2013
“There really is no excuse for this behavior,” said D. Angus Lee, county prosecutor. “We will be asking the court to impose two months of county jail time” on the defendants.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 27.
Charged were Vladimir Savchenko, 36, of Edmonds; Peter Zhezhelev, 46, of Kenmore; Aleksandr Kashnikov, 45, of Everett; and Sergey Mitsevich, 39, of Everett.