Latest from The Spokesman-Review
FISHING — On June 5, two steelhead that had run up the Columbia River and into the Snake made their way up and over Lower Granite Dam. They are the harbingers of a good steelhead season that anglers will start targeting this summer.
The steelhead run is beginning to spike over Bonneville Dam, about two weeks later than last year.
BICYCLING – The Route of the Hiawatha near Lookout Pass will open Saturday for its 14th season, officials confirmed today.
Lookout Pass Ski Area coordinates bus shuttles and bicycle rentals for the popular 15-mile rail trail that straddles the Montana-Idaho border.
The trail opened three weeks earlier last year when the mountains were not so loaded with snow.
The trail, which includes 10 tunnels and seven trestles as high as 230 feet, attracts visitors from around the world.
Crews have been working to clear snow from the trailhead at the east portal of the Taft Tunnel, which is the highest point of Route of the Hiawatha at 4,147 feet.
For details and bike rentals, call (208) 744-1301 or visit www.skilookout.com.
Read on for more details.
STATE PARKS — Bare spots are yet to show through the snow covering the nordic ski trails at Mount Spokane, says Cris Currie of the Friends of Mount Spokane State Park.
“There's debris all over the snow, but you can still ski and glide, and the skiing on the downhill ski area slopes continues to be great,” he said.
Just in case you were wondering.
BACKPACKING — A group of Western Washington University students found plenty of snow-free landscape for backpacking and camping up the Stehekin Valley from Lake Chelan last week.
Portions of the Pacific Crest Trail in North Cascades National Park were snow-free and easy cruising, they said.
But as the photo above shows, they didn't have to go too high to find snow still clogging the routes.
Be patient out there.
PREDATORS — After the Imnaha pack in northeastern Oregon was implicated in another loss of livestock, state officials have ordered another wolf removed from the pack.
That will make three down from Oregon's first confirmed breeding pack in the past few weeks.
Two wolves from that pack were killed last month in what wildlife managers had hoped would be a deterrent to their livestock-killing ways.
FLY FISHING — Thanks to a year's worth of rain in May and loads of snowpack remaining in the mountains, flows will be high and steady through the end of July on the Bighorn River in Montana below Yellowtail Dam.
That's frustrating news for dry-fly fishermen on the popular trout stream.
“When you get hit with a record precipitation event, things can turn around in a hurry,” Dan Jewell, BuRec's Montana area manager, told outdoor reporter Brett French of the Billings Gazette. “The precipitation events were beyond the most probable scenarios you plan for.”
All of that extra water has filled side and back channels of the river, providing more room for the rainbow and brown trout that fuel an estimated $50 million fishing industry.
“In the long run, higher water will benefit the fish,” said Ken Frazer, Fish, Wildlife and Parks fisheries manager in Billings.
Read on for more details from the Gazette story.
FISHING — Idaho Fish and Game Department officials have posted proposed fishing rule changes on the Fish and Game website or by contacting regional offices. Comments may be entered on the site until July 8.
FISHERIES — The new upstream fish ladder at the Thompson Falls Dam and hydropower project in Thompson Falls, Mont., has opened and apparently fish such as bull trout and rainbows have started moving freely past the structure since April.
The fish ladder was completed and dedicated last fall.
The report comes from GEI Consultants Inc., the firm selected by PPL Montana to provide ecological and engineering services for the project. The story is published today at HydroWorld.com.
The $7.5 million project is designed to provide endangered bull trout and other fish varieties unhindered access to hundreds of miles of the upstream Clark Fork River and its tributaries.
Read on for more details.
FISHING — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks fisheries biologist, Ladd Knotek, will present a free program about the population and health of fish in the Fish Creek drainage on Saturday, 7 p.m., at Big Pine Fishing Access Site Campground.
That's right off I-90 west of Alberton. Take Exit 66. Head south to Fish Creek Road and drive 4.5 miles from I-90 to the Big Pine Campground. Bring a lawn chair and dress for a Montana evening.
FLY FISHING — The Glacier Outdoor Center is gearing up for the debut of the Glacier Anglers Cast-Off on Saturday with events, programs and free casting clinics scheduled from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in West Glacier, Mont.
Cast-Off 2011 is open and free for all ages and ability levels, but there's a niche for competitive types want to take a shot at qualifying for the All Cast National Fly Casting championships.
Here's the speaker lineup:
- Beyond Bugs (Entomology and Ecology): Matt Boyer, FWP & Karsten Carlson
- Trout Hunting: Mark Evans, Dylan Freed from Glacier Anglers Pro Staff
- From Nets to Knots: Travis Morris, product rep for Winston, Ross, Lamson and Scientific Angler
Read on for more details.
INVASIVE SPECIES — A program to prevent a noxious weed from establishing itself along the Snake River watershed in northwest Wyoming is being declared a success.
The Jackson Hole Weed Management Association began the project in 2001 after saltcedar — also known as tamarisk — was discovered along the banks of the Snake River near Hoback Junction. Tamarisk has taken over shorelines of many rivers in Utah with 7-foot talk willow-like forests along the river bottoms.
Over the last 10 years, 125 saltcedar locations were located, mapped and treated.
The effort has kept saltcedar from establishing itself along the Snake River from Jackson Lake dam to Palisades Reservoir. During the 2009 and 2010 surveys, no new saltcedar infestations were located, and all prior infestations showed no new plants.
But program managers tell the Jackson Hole News & Guide that vigilance is needed to prevent infestations by other unwanted plants.
SALMON FISHING — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission today increased the bag limits on adult chinook salmon in the Clearwater River drainage to two per day and six in possession.
The commissioners also set a limited jacks-only season on another section of the upper Salmon River.
Fish and Game fishery managers estimate the numbers of adult chinook heading back to Idaho’s Clearwater drainage to be about twice the preseason estimate.
The increased bag limits are effective immediately on the Clearwater River main stem, the North Fork, South Fork and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers and the Lochsa River.
The statewide season limit remains 20 adult chinook during any 2011 salmon seasons occurring before Sept. 1. All other salmon fishing rules remain the same and are listed in the 2011 Chinook seasons and rules brochure.
The commission set a Chinook fishing season in the upper Salmon River reach near Stanley. The season opens July 9 and closes at the end of fishing on July 17. Fishing hours are from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. MDT.
STATE PARKS — Preliminary plans to thin some forest areas in Riverside State Park to reduce fire danger and the spread of bark beetle infestations will be presented at a public meeting tonight, 6 p.m., at the Shadle Park Public Library.
Park officials say the plans will be formalized before work would begin this fall and winter.
KID FISHING — The Umatilla National Forest and Asotin County Sportsmen's Association are celebrating National Fishing Week with two kid fishing derbies on the Washington side of th Blue Mountains next weekend.
No fishing license will be needed, but children participating in these events will need to bring their own fishing gear and must be accompanied by an adult.
June 11: West Evans Pond - west of Clarkston on Highway 12.
June 12: Rainbow Lake - 14 miles south of Pomeroy along the Tucannon River Road (Forest Road 47).
Read on for details.
INVASIVE SPECIES — Mike Wilkinson, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department’s aquatic invasive species biologist, will give a free program focusing on the threat of zebra mussels invading the region’s waters on Tuesday, 7 p.m., at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council office, 6116 N. Market St.
FISHING — Saturday is Free Fishing Day in Idaho and Washington will double the pleasure by dropping the general fishing license requirement for both Saturday and Sunday.
While fishing license requirements will be suspended, all other rules, such as limits or tackle restrictions, remain in effect.
Montana has set its free-fishing opportunity for Father's Day weekend, June 18-19.
Idaho is inviting novices to special locations around the state where equipment will be available to borrow and fishing experts will be on hand to help novice anglers learn fishing basics. All of the locations will be stocked with hatchery rainbow trout prior to the event.
Read on for Idaho Free Fishing Day event locations in this region:
FISHING — Here are some of the best bests for catching panfish — perch, crapppie, bluegills — in the Idaho Panhandle, according to Jim Fredericks, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager.
“We have a lot of great lakes for crappies, bluegill, and perch.
“Probably the best lake in the region for a chance to catch a good mess of all three species is Rose Lake, which consistently produces the largest bluegill (up to 10 inches) in the region.
“Other great panfish lakes south of Sandpoint include: Twin Lakes, Kelso, Shepherd, and Avondale.
“In the northern part of the region, great panfish lakes are Brush, Dawson, Smith, and Robinson.
“Many of these lakes have a two-story fishery, meaning they not only have warm-water fisheries for panfish, pike and bass, but they support good coldwater fisheries for stocked trout and kokanee as well. Hauser, Hayden, Fernan, and Spirit are great examples.”
Anglers can look at the Fishing Planner on the IDFG website to help determine where to go.
NATIONAL FORESTS — An environmental group is vowing to sue the Nez Perce National Forest over allegations the agency is allowing undertreated sewage to be discharged into the Selway River and South Fork of the Red River.
Moscow-based Friends of the Clearwater sent letters to forest officials last week alerting them of plans to take the agency to court.
Read on for details.
PADDLING — Catch the new wave of paddle sports with my Sunday Outdoors feature story about the sport than combines elements of canoeing and surfing.
Then consider signing up for one of the special presentations or classes to be offered in Spokane this week by Seattle Stand up paddling instructor Rob Casey.
Free stand up paddling presentation at REI
What: Free presentation on stand up paddle boarding, dealing with gear, launching and basic techniques.
Who: By Rob Casey, author of ‘Stand Up Paddling Flatwater to Rivers and Surf’ (pictured).
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Where: REI, 1125 N. Monroe St.
Sign-up:rei.com/event/22959/session/28402 (space limited)
On-water lessons offered
Author Rob Casey is offering three-hour stand up paddle boarding lessons on local waters Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during his book tour through Spokane.
Class size: five or less
Costs: $80-$100 depending on level
Sign-up: (206) 465-7167, salmonbaypaddle.com
Stand up resources
Spokane: Mountain Gear, 325-9000; moutaingear.com
Coeur d’Alene:Coeur d’Alene Paddle Board Co., (208) 292-4156; cdapaddleboard.com
Missoula: Strongwater, (406) 721-2437; strongwaterkayak.com
FISHING — Lake Roosevelt's water level was1,235 today and it's likely to remain around that level through the weekend as the big season of runoff water flushes through.
But as I went fishing there today, it still seems like you should pack a lunch and extra water for the hike down the Keller boat ramp to the dock.
The fishing wasn't bad. Our group of three caught dozens of smallmouth bass, a few walleye and a few trout — sometimes all in the same anchor position
Many boats were headed downstream from Keller to Sawilla Basin. RV campgrounds were filling fast.
I haven't got the whole story, but apparently Lake Roosevelt netpen rainbows were released early. A spinner trolled near the surface would catch 8-9 inchers right and left, so we quit that method. My comanions had seen many dying young rainbows near shore earlier in the week.
Dave Uberuaga (oo-buh-RAH’-guh) told park employees about the move Tuesday in an email.
The News Tribune reports Uberuaga started at Mount Rainier in 1984 and has been superintendent since 2002, except for a year-long stint in 2009 as acting superintendent at Yosemite National Park.
Mount Rainier National Park covers 235,625 arces and has a staff of about 200 people. Grand Canyon National Park covers 1.2 million acres and has 500 staffers.
NORDIC SKIING — Seeley Lake, Mont., citizens are slowly sliding into the next phase of a project to transform their small, rural community into a national nordic ski destination they say will rival the Methow Valley's sport trail system, which has around 120 MILES of trails, most of them groomed during winter.
Read the full story that appeared in the Missoulian.
Although Seeley Lake currently has only 15K of groomed trails, a feasibility study conducted by Vermont-based Morton Trails has set out a $4 million path toward nordic nirvana.
Seeley Lake's elevation north of Missoula features snowpack and rolling terrain rival some of the best nordic ski destinations in the country, the consultant said.
HIKING/NATURE — The Northeast Chapter, Washington Native Plant Society continues to offer a nifty schedule of field trips that combine hiking with nature observation.
Check them out and consider joining their group, or at least offering a $5 donation should you tag along on a guided hike.
Please confirm with field trip leaders before attending.
Read on for the hikes scheduled for June, including the Liberty Lake field trip set for Saturday.
RIVER RUNNING — Recently I posted a video of the thrills, spills and flips as rafters and catarafters crashed into Lochsa Falls on Memorial Day Weekend. The video was shot from the roadside pull-out off U.S. Highway 12 among the gallery of people on hand to cheer at the carnage at the famous Idaho whitewater river.
For an on-the-water perspective of three major Lochsa River rapids, check out this helmet cam video by Tony McDonald of Meridian, Idaho. He shot the rapids and the footage on May 14 with the water level at 6.5 feet at Lowell Bridge.
If you've see the Memorial Day video, you'll know why McDonald “skirted” Lochsa Falls — and why he was on hand to rescue the hapless chaps who didn't.
PUBLIC LANDS — It's still wintery just a fiew miles up the slopes from the upper St. Joe River valley in any direction, but crews have scraped the debris at least partially off the river road all the way up to Spruce Tree Campground.
Warm weekend weather foercast likely will spike the river flows even higher — and disrupt the fishing that's been surprisingly good recently.
Read on to see Idaho Fish and Game Department Conservation Officer Jerry Hugo's detailed report on conditions up the Joe and Little North Fork Clearwater as of Thursday.
SALMON FISHING — The Yakima Reservation boundary reach of the Yakima River will open to spring chinook fishing on Friday, the Washington Fish and Wildlfie Department announced this afternoon.
The season is set to run through June 30.
Read on for details.
PUBLIC LANDS – Saturday is a thrifty time to visit Washington and Oregon national forests that require an access pass for popular recreation sites.
In honor of National Trails Day, the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service will waive the fees at sites that normally require a recreaction access pass.
The passes come in various forms: a $5 fee per vehicle or recreation pass, such as the Northwest Forest Pass, Interagency Annual Pass, Interagency Senior Pass, Interagency Access Pass, Golden Age, or Golden Access Passport.
More upcoming Free Days include:
- National Get Outdoors Day - June 11
- National Public Lands Day – Sept. 24
- Veterans Day – Nov. 11
Another way to celebrate National Trails Day would be to join the volunteers in a work party to maintain the trail in the Iller Creek Conservation area on Saturday. See details in this previous post.
PUBLIC LANDS — Motorized Vehicle Use Maps are available for the Bonners Ferry, Priest Lake and Sandpoint Ranger Districts. The maps can be found at Idaho Panhandle National Forests offices along with the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District’s map, which was introduced in 2010.
Free to the public, the maps display the roads and trails currently designated for motor vehicle use on the districts.
The MVUM for the forest’s northern districts is based on the current road and trail systems in place. The MVUM does not add or subtract from current legal routes, but is intended to provide a clear depiction of legal motorized vehicle routes available to the public.
Read on for more details and the importance of having this map aboard any motor vehicle heading onto the forests.
MOUNTAINEERING — Ang Dorjee Sherpa reached the 29,036-foot summit at 4 a.m. May 13, marking the 15th time he has completed the feat.
“This year wasn’t that great, until May 1,” Ang Dorjee said Tuesday after returning to his home in Richland, Wash. “It was very windy and snowy.”
Ang Dorjee, a world-renown mountaineering guide, was the second of three teams from the New Zealand-based Adventure Consultants to reach the summit.
The first team summited May 11, Ang Dorjee helped guide three climbers in his team to the summit Friday the 13th, and the last team reached the top May 19.
Read on for more details from a Tri-City Herald story.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — There's something for everyone to dislike in Washington's revised draft Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.
- The number of breeding packs needed statewide before endangered species protections could be lifted is increased from nine to 15.
- Landowners would have few restrictions on shooting wolves endangering their domestic animals or pets.
On Saturday, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will be hearing more details on the state's plans for wolves and other endangered species during its meeting in Olympia.
Read on for a roundup of features in the new draft plan from the Wenatchee World.