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Glacier offers cool fishing alternative

FISHING/HIKING — It will cost you a little sweat and exertion, but you can find COOL places to fish, even in the record-high temperatures the region has suffered for the past few weeks.

Hilary Hutcheson of Trout TV got the message, packed her fly fishing gear and headed for the high lakes of Glacier National Park recently:

We tried to fish Hidden Lake yesterday but the trail was closed for bears. So, we made do on the East Side and had a rad day with some memorable #fish in Saint Mary Lake.

Try an outdoor lifetime sport at Spokatopia celebration

OUTDOOR SPORTS — A family-friendly outdoor adventure festival on July 11 will offer introductions to a wide range of activities on and off the Spokane River on in Spokane Valley, along with music, freeride bike stunts and brews to create the festival atmosphere.

Spokatopia will run 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Camp Sekani Park.

Participants will have a chance to try stand-up paddleboarding and SUP yoga, kayaking, disc golf, rock climbing, mountain biking, geocaching, rafting and canoeing.

Vendors of gear and other outdoor products will have booths.

Demo bikes, paddle sports gear, slacklines and other gear will be on hand for festival goers to try out, according to organizers from Spokane Parks and Recreation Department.

Live entertainment will start at 4 p.m.

Entry to the festival is $5.  The fee is waived for participants who sign up for "Outdoor Adventure Excursions," which cost $8-$20 and offer a deeper introduction and instruction into the activities featured at the event. 

Parents must accompany youth's in the tour sessions.

Preregister for the special excursions online at spokatopia.com.

One of the stand-up paddleboard sessions already has a wait list.

‘Hucklebeary Epic’ to test Mount Spokane mountain bikers

BICYCLING — A new mountain biking event is bruin on Mount Spokane.

The Mt. Spokane Hucklebeary Epic will debut Aug. 8 with three timed ride options of 20, 40 and 60 miles on routes in Mount Spokane State Park and Inland Empire Paper Co. lands.

Only the most focused mountain bikers will post personal bests in this event, since huckleberries will be ripe around the course.

No bonus points are offered for purple fingers at the finish line.

However, aid stations with food and drink will be on the course, too — and a party is planned for the finish.

The event, which has solo and team options, is a fundraiser for trail building and maintenance in the park, says organizer Dan DeRuyter — $5 of every registration will be donated to the Friends of Mt. Spokane State Park and Spokane Nordic. 

Here's the Aug. 8 schedule staging out of the Selkirk Lodge parking area:

  • 8 a.m. start for The Epic (60-mile ride), $75 entry.
  • 9 a.m. start for The Grinder (40-mile ride), $65 entry.
  • 9:15 a.m. start for The Taste (20-mile ride), $55 entry.

Primitive camping options also are available at the parking area the night before the event.

New terms required to describe sockeye fishing this good

FISHING — The sockeye and summer chinook fishing in the Brewster area of the Columbia River has been excellent. Depending on whether the river temperatures change, excellent could turn into phenomenal.

Or, as Washington Fish and Wildlife Department regional fisheries manager Jeff Korth described it after seeing the opening day results,

"It's going to be a blood bath."

See Korth's explanation nestled in this story that ran in Sunday Outdoors.

Deep-well irrigation dries up kid-fishing opportunities

FISHING — In recent weeks I've explored some of the fishing and hunting ramifications of water management in Washington, especially the unsustainable impacts of deep-well irrigation in central Washington.

While listing the loss of water and fishing opportunity in Pacific Lake and other waters, I failed to mention one other troubling example.

The 2015 Wild Goose Bill Days celebration in Wilbur, Washington, had to cancel its children's fishing derby in May because the local organizers could not fill the area behind the town's dam to accommodate the trout they'd purchased. Volunteer Wally Kluver explained in an email.

"In short, there was not enough water coming down the creek to have the fishing derby. This has happened before and we were able to draw off enough water from the town supply to provide enough water to have the event.

"Our town water was some 80 feet below normal level and therefore we had to cancel the fishing derby.

"This may be happening all over the pacific Northwest. As you are well aware the "potholes" that use to all over this area have dried up many years ago. Their names are mostly forgotten. Places like "Wagner Lake" that we used to ice skate on in the winter dried up years ago. Many stories and many changes."

Yellowstone bison teaching lessons to tourists

WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — Bison gored a woman and tossed a teenager into the air in Yellowstone National Park last week, the latest run-ins with the massive animals during tourist season in the popular landmark.  
The National Park Service says a bison gored a 68-year-old woman Wednesday on a trail near Yellowstone Lake. She was taken to a hospital, but her condition wasn’t immediately known.  
On June 23, a bison tossed a 19-year-old off-duty park concession employee who was off trail. She was treated and released from a hospital for minor injuries.  
In other encounters, the animals have gored a 16-year-old girl and tossed an Australian tourist in the air. Both suffered serious injuries.  
Yellowstone prohibits people from getting within 25 yards of bison or other large animals and within 100 yards of bears and wolves.

Little Spokane River shuttle service starts Saturday

WATERSPORTS – The Little Spokane River shuttle service for paddlers will resume this summer with an expanded season that starts on Saturday July 4 and runs Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., through Sept. 5.

The shuttle is operated by Spokane Parks and Recreation Department to reunite river paddlers with their vehicles.

The van will run between the Nine Mile take-out and the St. George’s put-in. Cost: $8 per person. Vehicles parked at either of the access points must have a Discover Pass.

Note: No inner tubes, rafts, dogs or alcohol allowed on Little Spokane River.  Life jackets (PDFs) required for all. Under 18 parent must accompany child.

Register for shuttles at spokaneparks.org.

Registration on-site with CHECKS or CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS ONLY, NO CASH.

Info: 363-5418.

BLM closes seasonal vehicle access to Towell Falls

PUBLIC LANDS —   Hot, dry weather has forced land managers to impose restrictions on camping, burning and access throughout the Northwest, as we rounded up in a story in Thursday Outdoors.

Since then, more restrictions have come up, including:

  • Weyerhaeuser closing its timberlands in Western Washington and Oregon to the public because of fire concerns.
  • Montana limiting fishing hours in the Clark Fork, Bitterroot and Blackfoot rivers.

On Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management’s Spokane District finally got its act together and began its seasonal closure of Towell Falls Road to motorized traffic.

The route, typically open from April to June, is particularly susceptible to wildfire ignition from vehicle use due to the presence of tall vegetation on the roadway during the summer season.

The Rock Creek Management Area, located 20 miles south of Sprague, Washington, can still be accessed on foot, horseback, and bike.

Info: BLM Spokane District Office at (509) 536-1200 or visit

Chinese flocking to Yellowstone Park

PARKS — Somebody could make a fortune on stir-fry bison this summer.

Yellowstone Park gears up for 500,000 visitors from China
Last year more than 300,000 people from China visited Yellowstone National Park and surrounding communities. Based on visa applications, that number could increase to more than 500,000 this year. Last week, a glossy visitors guide printed in Mandarin hit newsstands in areas around Yellowstone Park and in China, and is available online, thanks to a Jackson resident.

Sturgeon anglers land rare white/pink specimen in Snake River

Craig Dowdy of YJ Guide service and his wife, Melodie, fished with clients just downriver from Lower Granite Dam last week, catching 23 sturgeon in an eight-day stay.

Although they did catch a 9-footer and one keeper, the biggest thrill came on June 20 when Mrs. Dowdy landed a 6-foot, 3-inch all-white sturgeon with blue eyes and pink highlights on the tail.

Area biologists who saw the photos said they had never seen anything like it, Dowdy said.

"Melodie fought the fish for 45 minutes before the fish finally gave up," Craig said. "After talking to the biologists in the area no one has any info about albino sturgeon on the Snake and most have never seen anything like it."

Note how the Dowdys are taking the photo before releasing the fish. They turn the sturgeon upside down to subdue it for removing the hook and making the photo, and they don't lift the sturgeon's head out of the water, which has been proved to damage these long-lived gentle giant fish.

Golden eagle chicks monitored by researchers

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Paul Wik, state Fish and Wildlife Department district biologist in southeastern Washington, checked a golden eagle nest south of Asotin recently to determine the age of the chicks.

Researchers plan to capture one chick pre-fledging to install a solar powered transmitter.

Here's a story about the state's efforts to monitor the big eagles.

International Fly Fishers to convene in Bend

FISHING — The International Federation of Fly Fishers will convene for their annual fair this summer in Bend, Oregon, the state where the group was founded 50 years ago.

The theme for the gathering and exposition is “Experience All Things Fly Fishing,” with a long list of activities open to the public Aug. 13-15 at the Riverhouse Convention Center.

This is a premier fly fishing event with 90 workshops and clinics on casting, fly tying, on-water fishing techniques with something for experts and families alike.

Workshops instructors include Bill Blackstone, Al Buhr, Floyd Dean, Oscar Feliu, Steve Fernandez, Jean-Francois, Rick Hafele, Peter Hayes, Henry Hoffman, Bob Jacklin, Frank Johnson, Wayne Luallen, Darrel Martin, Bruce Richards, Tim Rajeff, Rick Williams and others.

The fly fishing fair will feature exhibits with the latest in gear and information about how and where to fish across the United States and the world.

This may also be a good excuse to get up to speed on fishing some of the Bend region's top waters, such as Crooked River, the Metolius, Tumalo Creek and Whychus Creek or still water fisheries such as East Lake, Hosmer Lake, Davis Lake, Crane Prairie and Wickiup reservoirs.

Other special event highlights:

  • Fly Tying Theater, close up views of specialty tiers
  • Casting Rendezvous & Casting Fun – free casting clinics for all attendees
  • Casting competitions – 5-weight casting competition and 9-hole fly fishing tournament
  • Two-day Youth Camp and daily youth activities
  • Women’s University – a two-day program tailored for women fly fishers
  • Exhibit Hall open daily  9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday-Saturday
  • Free “How to” programs
  • “Fish God” movie showing
  • Fly Fishing Author signings
  • Friday night live auction benefiting IFFF

Day passes are available at the Riverhouse Convention Center for $15 or $20 for a family.  Kids 15 and under are free accompanied by an adult.  

Fly Fishing workshops and Casting workshops and free demonstrations will be at various locations around Bend, free seminars the exhibit hall and various workshops will be held at the Convention Center.  Fees vary for each workshop.

Advance-registration online opened on June 8 and closes July 27, 2015 but on-site registration is also available.

Info and registration at  www.fedflyfishers.org; go to the Fly Fishing Fair tab.

Warm water forces fishing restrictions on Montana streams

FISHING – High stream temperatures in Western Montana have prompted emergency restrictions on the hours fishing will be allowed on the Bitterroot, Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers starting Friday.

Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks officials said all fishing on the prized trout rivers as well as Flint and Silver Bow Creeks will close daily from 2 p.m. to midnight until conditions improve.

The "hoot-owl" restrictions will apply to the entire stretch of the Blackfoot and Bitterroot and on the Clark Fork from the headwaters to its confluence with the Flathead.

On Flint Creek, the “hoot owl” restrictions apply from below the Hwy 1 bridge near milepost 53, downstream to the mouth.  Silver Bow Creek is affected from its confluence with Warm Springs Creek (near Warm Springs) to the confluence with Blacktail Creek (in Butte).

Montana’s angling restrictions kicked because flows have dropped and water temperatures have risen to levels that stress trout.

The preferred water temperature for rainbow and brown trout is about 55-65 degrees. Temperatures of 73 degrees are stressful for rainbow and brown trout.  Temperatures in the mid 60s are stressful to native bull and westslope cutthroat trout.

Grande Ronde spring chinook fishing to close

FISHING – Spring chinook salmon fishing will close on the Grande Ronde River at Sunset on Sunday.

he Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the closure on Wednesday after determining the southeastern Washington river “is experiencing extremely low flows and increasing water temperatures that may affect survival of Endangered Species Act listed fish handled during this fishery.”
The action closes the Grande Ronde to salmon fishing from the mouth of Buford Creek a half mile downstream of the Highway 129 Bridge at Boggan’s Oasis upstream to the Washington-Oregon state line.

Elk calves born to be prey

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Here's the latest poop on predators in the Inland Northwest:

They appear to be well-fed.

During one day of hiking north of Lake Pend Oreille, I came across two scats within five miles containing calf elk hooves. One was the scat of a black bear, the other the scat of a wolf.

This is the way it works out there.

Report: Federal lands huge economic factor

PUBLIC LANDS — No wonder some people want to take over federal lands for private interests.  Turns out they're damned valuable.

U.S. Interior Department: 1 in 4 jobs in Wyoming tied to federal lands
In a report issued this week, the U.S. Department of Interior said that federal lands in Wyoming supported 81,000 jobs in the Cowboy State, about one in four. The energy sector provided 52,000 of those jobs, and the recreation sector provided 14,500 of those jobs in the last year.
—Wyoming Business Report

Sockeye, chinook runs looking huge on eve of salmon opener

FISHING — The salmon are charging upstream in near-record numbers for the Wednesday, July 1, season openers on the upper Columbia River.  

Here's the latest update on the chinook and sockeye runs from Joe Hymer, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife salmon specialist:

SUMMER CHINOOK

  • Adult summer Chinook passage at Bonneville Dam during June 16-29 totals 53,197 fish.
  • It’s the 2nd largest total to-date (record is 70,920 adults in 1957).
  • Passage is typically 50% complete by June 29.
  • The preseason forecast was for a Columbia River return of 73,000 adults.
  • The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) began weekly stock status reviews for the summer season on Monday June 29. TAC upgraded the summer Chinook forecast return to 85,000  adults.
  • If the upgraded TAC forecast is correct, this year’s summer Chinook return would be the second largest on record since at least 1980 (record is 89,500 adults in 2002). 

SOCKEYE

  • Sockeye passage at Bonneville Dam through June 29 totals 339,816 fish.
  • It’s also the 2nd largest total count to-date (record is 364,849 fish in 2012).
  • Passage is typically 50% complete by June 25.
  • The preseason forecast was for a Columbia River return of 394,000 adults.
  • The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) began weekly stock status reviews for the summer season on Monday June 29. TAC upgraded the sockeye return to 450,000 adults.
  • If the upgraded TAC forecast is correct, it would be the 3rd largest return to the mouth of the Columbia since at least 1938 (record was set just last year with 645,140 fish).

BONUS FACTOID

Water temperatures at Bonneville Dam

  • Water temperature at Bonneville Dam was nearly 71 degrees yesterday.
  • It’s the hottest temperature to-date since at least 1950.
  • The recent 10-year average on June 28  is 63 degrees.  

Fires make Alaska hot spot for summer vacation

OUTDOOR TRAVEL — Good timing if you, like me, picked this summer for a wilderness adventure in Alaska.

Alaska's wildfire season worries scientists
While 2004 is currently the holder of the record wildfire year in Alaska, fire activity this month has put 2015 in contention to take over that record, with 391 wildfires covering more than 1 million acres reported thus far this year.

This article has a startling map detailing the location of the largest fires in Alaska.

North Idaho forest stream protection tour planned

HABITAT — Shade from trees and shrubs is often essential to keeping water temperatures in Idaho forest streams cool enough for healthy fish and other aquatic species.

Many stream organisms also benefit from the deep pools created in streams when large logs fall into the stream.

The Idaho Forest Practices Act recently created new rules to ensure adequate shade and future organic debris recruitment to streams.

University of Idaho Extension and the Idaho Department of Lands are offering “Forest Stream Protection Twilight Tours” to help participants learn how trees provide shade and debris to streams and how to interpret and apply new FPA regulations related to these trees.

A tour based out of Bonners Ferry will depart July 9 at 3 p.m. from the Boundary County Fairgrounds and will be completed by 7 p.m.

Similar tours will be offered in Moscow on June 30 and Santa on July 16.

Cost: $10,covers handouts and refreshments.

Pre-register at the University of Idaho Extension Office in Boundary County by July 2.

Call (208) 267-3235.

Info:  http://www.uidaho.edu/extension/forestry

Moose gets workout at North Central HS track

WILDLIFE WATCHING — A yearling moose apparently was trying out as a walk-on for the North Central High School track team this morning.

A moose would be be hard to beat in the hurdles.

The moose was tranquilized and transported out of Spokane for release by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff.

Washington Outdoor Women workshops in September

OUTDOOR SKILLS — Women can learn the basics of fishing, hunting and other outdoor skills at a September weekend workshop presented by Washington Outdoor Women.

The annual workshop is scheduled Sept.18-20 at Camp Waskowitz near North Bend.

WOW is a non-profit program dedicated to teaching women outdoor skills and natural resource stewardship. It was founded 18 years ago as an educational outreach program of the Washington Wildlife Federation.

The 28 certified and experienced instructors for the WOW event, including women staffers in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, will teach 16 classes. Sessions include archery, basic freshwater fishing, fly-fishing and fly-tying, big-game hunting basics, map and compass reading, survival skills, beekeeping, birding, duck hunting, first aid and other subjects.

Workshop participants must be at least 18 years old and must have a current Washington recreational fishing license to participate in the fly-fishing sessions.

Sign up:  http://www.washingtonoutdoorwomen.org.

Partial scholarships from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation are available for first-time participants.

End of June drought report in a word: bleak

CLIMATE CHANGE — If we were smart here in the Inland Northwest, we'd let 2015 be our incentive to embrace water conservation.

Fish and wildlife depend on water the flows on the surface as well as that precious ground water.

All sources of water, from Eastern Washing aquifers to the arctic ice caps, are in steadily shorter supply.

But enough about the future. Here's a brief update on the 2015 drought in this region through the end of June from Katherine Rowden, service hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

Our region is experiencing a very unusual year in terms of low snowpack, early snowmelt, above average temps, below average spring precipitation, & low streamflow. We've put together pertinent information for conditions and emerging and potential impacts for the area served by our Weather Forecast Office (much of Eastern WA and Northern ID).

Highlight from the NWS Spokane Drought Information Statement (created June 26th) include:

  • Several NRCS & Canadian snow observation sites (SNOTELs, Snow Courses, Snow Pillows) set records this winter for low snowpack and early snowmelt across the Western US
  • Several rivers and streams are at record low levels for this time in June
  • 2015 has seen record evaporation for the April - June 24th period since we started measuring in Spokane in 1980
  • Water supply forecasts for summer streamflow at several locations put them at or near the lowest summer streamflow volumes since at least 1971. 
  • Wildfire conditions are at critical levels in many areas - we're already seeing conditions that we would see in August in a typical year. 

Other relevant NWS information statements

Record low June streamflow info for Inland NW (created June 23rd) 

Record low June streamflow info for Western MT & Northcentral ID (created June 24th)

NWS Seattle Drought Information Statement (created May 22nd)

NWS Boise Drought Information Statement (created June 3rd)

 

Additional drought info for Washington

Idaho fishing rule changes proposed

FISHING – Public meetings are scheduled this week to air changes in fishing regulations proposed for 2016-2018 by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

 The proposals have been drafted based on previous public meetings, angler surveys and work by fisheries biologist.

Proposals for the Panhandle Region include:

  • Reducing the rainbow trout limit on Lake Pend Oreille from six a day to two fish, only one over 20 inches in order to support trophy fishery management.
  • Prohibiting bait fishing on the Clark Fork River and tributaries from December through the Friday before Memorial Day; rainbow trout closed to harvest, catch and release only.
  • Increasing kokanee limit on Spirit Lake from 15 to 25.
  • Increasing minimum length on Hayden Lake largemouth bass from 16 to 20 inches to improve average fish size, which has been decreasing.

Panhandle region biologists will be available to discuss the proposals and take comments during an open house, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, at the Fish and Game Office, 2885 W. Kathleen Ave. in Coeur d’Alene.

The public can complete an online survey on Fish and Game’s website through Aug. 31..

“There are fishing rule changes proposed for every region of the state,” said Martin Koenig, sport fishing coordinator. “Some proposals would increase limits and seasons, while some would be more restrictive. Other changes would help simplify complex rules on places like the Henrys Fork.” 

Final recommendations will be submitted to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in November.

  • An open house also is set Tuesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., in Lewiston at the Clearwater Region Fish and Game Office, 3316 16th St.

Stream temps already uncomfortably high for trout, salmon

FISHING — Stream temperatures are spiking high much earlier than normal because the region's snowpack already has disappeared.

The Snake River near Anatone is reading 72.32 degrees F, that's about 8 degrees warmer than the median for this date.

The Okanogan River at Malott is at 78.62 degrees F, nearly 15 degrees higher than the median temperature for this date.

High water temps are bad news for fish, especially trout, salmon and steelhead.

Warmer water can form a "thermal barrier" that prevents salmon and steelhead from leaving the Columbia and heading up the Snake toward Idaho.  A thermal barrier at the mouth of the Okanagon may keep sockeye stacking up in the Columbia near Brewster. Fishermen can play these temperature issues to their favor in some cases.

But that doesn't mean anglers should overplay stressed fish, especially when trout or salmon are being released.

Be prepared to employ your most sensitive catch and release techniques, such as using stouter rods and heavier leaders to reel in fish as fast as possible for release without taking the fish out of the water.

Expect emergency restrictions to be announced this summer, possibly prohibiting trout fishing in the afternoons in some waters.

Links to USGS gauge and temperature readings for some streams can be found here:

Here are some Celsius to Fahrenheit conversions to help you process the information on the chart.

  • 17C = 62.6F
  • 18C = 64.4F
  • 19C = 66.2F
  • 20C = 68F
  • 21C = 69.8F
  • 22C = 71.6F

Forest Service offering on-demand language interpretation

PUBLIC LANDS —  A pilot “on demand” phone interpretation service to enhance public service to non-native English speakers has been announced by the Pacific Northwest Region of the USDA Forest Service for its offices in Oregon and Washington.

Actually, it was announced last week to the media before it was announced to the forest offices around the region.   I checked with several offices, including the Colville National Forest, and the information below was as newsy to them as it was to me:

“We are committed to improving public access to Forest Service programs to foster respectful and inclusive interactions with the people and communities we serve,” said Jim Peña, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester in Portland. “We want to ensure everyone has access to the information they need to fully participate.”

The new phone service offers immediate language interpretation at Forest Service offices, visitor centers and in the outdoors when phone service is available throughout national forests in Washington and Oregon. Visitors will be asked to identify their language, and Forest Service staff will call an interpretation specialist.

The pilot contract held with TransPerfect provides interpretation for 170 languages. Call data will be assessed to determine the need for future services.

Approximately one in five people nationwide have limited English proficiency, the Forest Service says.

The Pacific Northwest Region consists of 16 National Forests, 59 District Offices, a National Scenic Area, and a National Grassland. These management units comprise 24.7 million acres in Oregon and Washington and employ approximately 3,550 employees.

So far, there's no word in any language when this service will be available region-wide.

 

Man shoots cougar attacking goat on porch

PREDATORS — A young female cougar was shot and killed as it attacked a goat on the porch of a home near Elk, Washington last week.

The cougar, a kitten of the year still showing spots, was able to kill the goat shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning before the homeowner got a firearm and shot it.  The homeowner reported the incident and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officer Severin Erickson responded.

While a cougar videoed trotting through a North Spokane parking lot last week was described as "rare" by  Fish and Wildlife officials, Erickson said several cougars a year in Pend Oreille County find their way into residents' yards.

"A lot of times nothing happens, but I get reports of them chasing a dog through the yard, or being up on a porch or lying in the grass of the yard," he said.

"In this case it was a very young cat, very thin, just 30-40 pounds, and in poor condition.  Other litter mates may have been in the area."

Survey: Spokane is nation’s Subaru capital

OUTDOOR RIGS — It's no surprise to anyone who's scanned the Mount Spokane cross-country ski area parking lot on a winter weekend.

Subaru rules in this area where people want a sure bet for getting up a snowy winter road to home as well as to a ski area — a fact confirmed recently by the market-research firm Nielsen Scarborough.

According to survey data, 1 out of every 10 car owners in the Spokane area owns a Subaru. That's a rate just a hair higher than Seattle.

Nationally, just 1 out of 35 car owners chose Subaru.

The data was brought up recently by Gene Balk, blogger for the Seattle Times,who wondered if the impressive little full-time all-wheel-drive vehicles should be considered for state car status.

  • For the record, the Landers family has only two Subarus in its fleet.

Swanson sets women’s mark in Western States Endurance Run

Gunhild Swanson, 70, of Spokane, set a record for the 70-79, age group of the Western States Endurance Run — 100 miles out of Auburn, Calif. — finishing this morning in under 30 hours.  

10 years ago, she claimed the 60-69 age group record.

Swanson is the oldest woman to finish the brutal event.

Here we go: Lightning fires close portions of Blue Mountains

WILDFIRES — Multiple fires have been reported to in the Blue Mountains from the Pomeroy and Walla Walla districts to the John Day area as a result of recent lightning activity. 

More fires are expected to be reported throughout the day and lightning is in the forecast for this evening.

The Table Rock Complex, located on the Walla Walla and Pomeroy Ranger Districts about 2 miles south of Bluewood Ski Area, consists of four fires in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness and one fire in the Mill Creek Watershed.  These fires are burning in steep rugged country with limited accessibility.  The largest of four fires is estimated at 10 acres. A local Type 3 Incident Management Team is assigned to the complex.  Multiple ground and aerial resources are on order.

Current closures related to the Table Rock Complex include:

  • Forest Road 6400 from the junction of Forest Road 6500 to the junction of Forest Road 6400-650.
  • Forest Road 6400-650 from the junction of Forest Road 6400 to its end.
  • Indian Trailhead and Forest Trail 3235 from Indian Trailhead to the junction of Forest Trail 3237.

The Heppner Ranger District reported four new fires. 

Anglers show how to pose with huge Hanford Reach sturgeon

FISHING — The sockeye fishing seasons that opened in mid-June in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia has been a bust as lower than normal flows have foil techniques anglers had been honing in recent years to cash in on the booming salmon run.

But one big fish has a way of making you forget about the fish that aren't biting.

Northwest Sportsman magazine featured the photo, with an educational caption.  This is information worth repeating and learning just in case you're ever lucky enough to hook one of these gentle, decades-old giants:

In our June issue article on British Columbia's Fraser River, contributor Todd Martin wrote about the importance of keeping the giant fish in the water: 

"Recent information has created a best practices standard to follow.  Sturgeon over 5 feet in length are not to be lifted out of the water for hero shots.

"You can take them to shore, beach them and take your photos, but the head of the sturgeon must not leave the water. 

"It was discovered that the sensitive internal organs of sturgeon were being unintentionally damaged by mishandling by anglers lifting them up for a photo."