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Trout aren’t tops on Missouri fly guides’ list this week

FLY FISHING — A friend just back from fishing for rainbow and brown trout in the Missouri near Craig, Mont., said all of his action was on nymphs. (Uh, remember we're talking about fishing.)

“One 20-inch fish, sporadic pods so lots of time without fish,” he said.

But he added this notable tidbit:
 
“The owner of Headhunters (Fly Shop in Craig) and one of his guides were fishing on their own, not trout but buggering for walleye  at the dam, getting big ones. They said they had to fish the patterns verly slowly and they could barely feel the hits.”

TLC needs to be a daily effort at Dishman Hills

TRAILS — Less than a week after 330 people volunteered to clean up the Dishman Hills Natural Area in Spokane Valley, the new garbage carnage already has begun.

Don't let litter critters take our favorite places down.

Fight back by devoting just a few minutes of every hike to the cause!

Take a small garbage bag with you on every hike, regardless of where you go. A little pick up here and there can make a big difference. A group can have a great positive impact in very little time, with very little effort.

As one friend put it, “Stewardship is forever.”

Warning: Moyie River has nasty surprise for rafters

RIVER RUNNING — Kayakers running the Moyie River in far northern Idaho today had a good time, but they warned that there's a sticking point for rafts and catarafts.  Here's the report just posted byTerry Miller of the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club.

Ran the Moyie today @2'. If you are sitting in the eddy with the waterfall next to the dam there is a log that extends from the dam wall to within 6' of the canyon wall on left bank. You must enter the rapid next to the canyon wall. It is fairly clean but no way a cat or raft is going thru…

Human Planet TV series shows tonight: one more clip

OUTDOORS TV:   Here's one more clip from the Human Planet TV series that outdoors people will enjoy, especially ice fishermen.

Check out the series tonight, 8 p.m.,on Discovery Channel.

Sandpoint Earth Day Festival a hit with kids

ENVIRONMENT — Friday is Earth Day, and Sandpoint groups are making a point to get the whole family involved.

Sandpoint’s Earth Day Festival is set for 4 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Sandpoint Events Center (corner of Pine and Euclid).

Family activities include a talk by Earth Day co-founder Doug Scott, information from more than 20 local conservation groups and vendors, displays and games for the kids, electric car demos, great local food.

And then there's the no-host beer and wine bar.

The event is sponsored by Idaho Conservation League, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness and Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper.

Info:  (208) 265-9565.

Human Planet TV series debuts: Preview 3

OUTDOORS ON TV — Here's the third of four film clips to check out on the new series debuting on the Discovery Channel.

Human Planet is the first BBC/Discovery Channel production to focus solely on human behavior and it's profound relationship with nature. The makers of Planet Earth, Life and Blue Planet, investigate humanity’s ability to adapt and live in every corner of our diverse world. Each episode centers on a particular habitat. The filming techniques are cutting-edge.

The series started last Sunday and continues this Sunday and April 24 with two episodes each night starting at 8 p.m on the Discovery Channel.

I'll be posting clips from varous episodes through the weekend so you can check them out. 

Meantime, don't worry about missing some episodes on TV. The series is set to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on April 26.

Officials kill bear swept into Columbia Dam

WILDLIFE — A black bear that for some reason was swimming on the Columbia River near The Dalles Dam crawled out of the current onto a spillway get on Monday and suddenly had no safe exit in either direction.

Upstream, the current coming into the spillway gate is swift and dangerous.

Downstream, the bruin faced a 75 foot drop to concrete.

See more photos of the bear's predicament.

Dam employees eventually determined they had no choice to but to have Oregon Fish and Wildlife enforcement officers shoot the bear, since there was no safe way to rescue it.

U.S. Corps of Engineers and and ODFW biologists do not know how the bear found its way onto the gate. The Columbia River at The Dalles is running high and fast – about 296,000 cubic feet per second on April 12 – and the dam is spilling about 40 percent of the total river flow through the spillway bays to accommodate adult and juvenile salmon passage.

Human Planet TV series debuts: Preview 2

OUTDOORS ON TV — Here's the second of four film clips to check out on the new series debuting on the Discovery Channel.

Human Planet is the first BBC/Discovery Channel production to focus solely on human behavior and it's profound relationship with nature. The makers of Planet Earth, Life and Blue Planet, investigate humanity’s ability to adapt and live in every corner of our diverse world. Each episode centers on a particular habitat. The filming techniques are cutting-edge.

The series started last Sunday and continues this Sunday and April 24 with two episodes each night starting at 8 p.m on the Discovery Channel.

I'll be posting clips from varous episodes through the weekend so you can check them out. 

Meantime, don't worry about missing some episodes on TV. The series is set to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on April 26.

State officials eager to regain wolf management control

ENDANGERED SPECIES — Montana officials wasted no time today praising the budget rider Congress approved to remove endangered species protections from gray wolves in the Northern Rockies.

Wolves will still be protected in many ways, but limited hunting seasons once again can be set by Idaho and Montana.

Defenders of Wildlife called wolves 'sacrificial lambs” included in the budget bill President Barack Obama almost surely will sign.

Many questions people have about the rider are answered in today's news story by staff reporter Becky Kramer.

Meantime, Montana wildlife officials are heaping praise on U.S. Sen. Jon Tester today as a Congressional measure he helped craft removed gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species in Montana, Idaho, and parts Oregon, Washington and Utah.

“Finally,” said Joe Maurier, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks said when he learned that the brief 104-word measure passed into federal law along with the budget bill that will fund the federal government through September.

“Enough is enough – Montana must have the ability to manage wildlife, to do our job, to seek a balance among predator and prey,” said Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. “We need the authority to respond to the challenges wolves present every day. This is a common sense measure that will ensure good management of wolves through Montana’s existing plan, which allows for healthy numbers of wolves and safeguards the interests of ranchers and sportsmen.”

Maurier said the state will begin to prepare a hunting season proposal for the FWP Commission to consider.  Idaho officials say they will, too.

Within 60 days of the enactment of a new federal law, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior will reissue the wolf delisting rule first published in April 2009. Unlike delisting rules issued in the past, this Congressional action also excludes the rule from judicial review.

The reissued rule:

  • is effective upon publication in the Federal Register.
  • delists all wolves in Montana, Idaho—and in portions of Washington, Oregon and Utah
  • does not delist wolves in Wyoming.
  • authorizes Montana to manage wolves under the state's federally approved Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

Congress removes Northern Rockies wolves from Endangered Species protection

ENDANGERED SPECIES — It's official. Gray wolves soon will be delisted as endangered species in the Northern Rockies, and states can begin wolf management programs.

Montana wildlife officials are heaping praise on U.S. Sen. Jon Tester today as a Congressional measure he helped craft removed gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species in Montana, Idaho, and parts Oregon, Washington and Utah.

Within 60 days of the enactment of a new federal law, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior will reissue the wolf delisting rule first published in April 2009. Unlike delisting rules issued in the past, this Congressional action also excludes the rule from judicial review.

The reissued rule:

  • is effective upon publication in the Federal Register.
  • delists all wolves in Montana, Idaho—and in portions of Washington, Oregon and Utah
  • does not delist wolves in Wyoming.
  • authorizes Montana to manage wolves under the state's federally approved Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

Public support lacking for thrill activities at Banff Naional Park

PARKS — Canadians have been telling Parks Canada they don’t want new thrill-seeking activities or special events in Banff, the country’s flagship national park – but Ottawa chose to ignore them.

The Rocky Mountain Outlook has the story on the disturbing inclination to turn a treasure like Banff National Park into an amusement center.

Parks Canada last year approved national policy that paves the way for adventure activities such as via ferrata, zip lines and hang-gliding in a bid to boost visitor numbers in parks across the country, including Banff.

But, according to an internal letter obtained through Canada's Access To Information, there was virtually no support for such thrill-seeking activities during Banff’s controversial management plan review.

24 Hours of Schweitzer skiers set records

SKI BENEFIT — Mother Nature was no match against the skill and determination of participants at the third-annual “24 Hours of Schweitzer” ski relay, which featured stellar performances, new records and even a marriage proposal.

Details just released indicate 120 skiers and snowboarders raised $90,000 for cystinosis research inspired by 4-year-old Hank Sturgis of Sandpoint. That's just one of the records set at the annual downhill marathon event.

Read on for details about some heroic performances on the snow.

Forest Service budget cuts force closure of Lake Wenatchee office

NATIONAL FORESTS — The Wenatchee River Ranger District will not open its Lake Wenatchee office to the public this year because of staffing and operational funding constraints, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest announced this morning.

“This was a very difficult decision,” said Acting District Ranger Maureen Hanson.   “The Lake Wenatchee District office has a long history in our community since its establishment in 1908.  But, the location of the administrative office is ‘off the beaten track’ and with current budget limitations it is not viable.”  

The Lake Wenatchee office will remain an administrative work station, but will not be open for visitor services.  The Leavenworth Ranger Station will be the closest Wenatcheen National Forest office.

Read on for more details.

Idaho holds wolf bill pending action in Congress

ENDANGERED SPECIES — Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has a hunch that Congress is about to remove wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains from the Endangered Species list. So he's holding off on signing a state bill that would allow him to declare a wolf disaster emergency.

If Congress follows through, Otter says Idaho would win state control of the predators - making signing the measure passed by the state Idaho House and Senate this month unnecessary, the Idaho Statesman reports.

Otter says the congressional delisting measure inserted into a complex federal budget measure by U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson “gives control back to the state…where it should have been all along.”

Idaho's measure would let Otter enlist local law enforcement agents to reduce Idaho's wolf population, which at 800 animals makes up about half of the wolves in the region.

Fishing innovator Larry Dahlberg in Spokane Saturday

FISHING — Larry Dahlberg, a fishing innovator who's come up with equipment used by millions of anglers, will be available for a question and answer period Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Wholesale Sports in Spokane Valley.  

A Fishing Hall of Fame angler, Dahlberg is host of “The Hunt for Big Fish” on Versus Network. He is known internationally for his creation of the Dahlberg Diver, a unique fly design, and is responsible for other fishing innovations including the blank-thru off-set bait-casting handle design androd balancer.

He's also responsible for the popular jig and fly-tying material Flashabou.

Dahlberg says he's fished every ocean and most major rivers in the world.

Gobble, Gobble: One down, one to go

HUNTING — One could hear shots fired within minutes of after Washington's wild turkey hunting season opened this morning at 5:31 a.m.

One down, one to go for spring gobbler hunting on the East Side of the state.

It was beautiful out there.

Encore for Vanishing of the Bees film at Magic Lantern

NATURE – Back by popular demand, a 90-minute film, Vanishing of the Bees, will be shown again on Wednesday, 7 p.m., at the Magic Lantern Theatre, 25 W. Main.

For a suggested donation of $5, visitors also will have pre-show access to booths featuring local beekeeping groups, information packet, seeds to plant for your backyard pollinators and organic honey treats.

About a third of the food we eat – including apples, broccoli, watermelon, cherries and other fruits and vegetables – need honeybees for pollination.

Info: Inland Northwest Land Trust, Brooke Nicholson, outreach@inlandnwlandtrust.org

Or call (509) 328-2939.

Human Planet series focuses on human relationship with nature

OUTDOORS ON TV — I won't waste many words telling you about a visual treat for your eyes. Check out the video above and carve out some TV time this weekend.

Human Planet is the first BBC/Discovery Channel production to focus solely on human behavior and it's profound relationship with nature. The makers of Planet Earth, Life and Blue Planet, investigate humanity’s ability to adapt and live in every corner of our diverse world. Each episode centers on a particular habitat. The filming techniques are cutting-edge.

The series started last Sunday and continues this Sunday and April 24 with two episodes each night starting at 8 p.m on the Discovery Channel.

I'll be posting clips from varous episodes through the weekend so you can check them out. 

Meantime, don't worry about missing some episodes on TV. The series is set to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on April 26.

Roosevelt drawdown leaves boat launches dry

FISHING — Almost every lake in the region is flush with more water than some have seen in years.

But it's a different story at Lake Roosevelt, where fishing traffic was thin today.   The big drawdown at the reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam — much more dramatic than last year — is making boat launching difficult at all but a few ramps.

The photo above shows the morning lake level at elevation 1,235 feet — far below the end of the Hansen Harbor boat ramp.

Even shore fishing is getting tricky as the water levels drop so low and fast the banks in some areas are as treacherous as quicksand.

The water level seems to be dropping a foot every time you blink.

But we caught a few trout.

See the Roosevelt current lake level chart.

Check here for the minimum boat launch elevations to determine which are out of water. 

Timely advice before wild turkey spring season opens Friday

HUNTING — Here are a few hunting basics to ponder before the spring wild turkey gobbler season opens Friday in Idaho and Washington.

The tips are from Mossy Oak pro staff member Mike Cockerham, who offers advice on scouting,
advance work and the preparation it takes to bag a spring gobbler:

Yes, this doesn't give you much chance to apply all the information before the season opens tomorrow, but many hunters believe the best time to lure in big gobblers isn't opening day, when they're firmly attached to hens, but rather later in the season when they're lonesome and looking again for love.

Read on for the Q & A.

Distracted on the eve of turkey hunting season

HUNTING — A landowner just emailed me photos of three toms strutting Wednesday morning.

The were about 10 feet where I plan to be sitting with my 12 gauge over my knees when Washington's wild turkey hunting season opens Friday at 5:31 a.m.

And now I'm starting to wonder if I have everything together.  License? Yep. Ammo, camo and calls? Yep. Bottle of wine for the landowner? Yep.

My shotgun is camouflaged, but if yours isn't, check out the photo above of a gun covered with Mossy Oak Graphics®  new  vinyl camouflage graphics.  Installation is easier than ever with the industry's first pre-cut shotgun camouflage kit.

Mossy Oak says the 3M™ premium cast vinyl eliminates shrinking, bubbling and peeling associated with conventional brands. You can even buy a kit to cover your pickup.

The company says the material has an industry leading seven-year durability rating.

These are the things I'm thinking about today. To heck with work.

WSU study tests new vaccine for bighorn sheep

WILDLIFE RESEARCH — Reseachers may finally be on track of a tool to deal with the diseases wreaking havoc with bighorn sheep herds in the West.

 A Washington State University wildlife disease researcher has produced an experimental vaccine that appears to have protected four bighorn sheep against deadly pneumonia.

Subramaniam Srikumaran, the WSU professor in Pullman, says his findings are a promising but concedes years of work remain to help safeguard wild bighorn herds from periodic die-offs that have plagued the species in Idaho.

Read on for more details from an Associated Press report:

Eagle cam: Eaglets are beefing up


Webcam chat at Ustream

WILDLIFE — Less than two weeks old, three eaglets are starting to get big enough in their nest that the parents have a hard time settling down for a restful night.

Stay tuned along with about 4 million viewers EACH DAY watching as a bald eagle family flourishes in a northeast Iowa nest under the watchful eye of a web cam that's capturing the activity live at the Decorah Fish Hatchery.

Some drama darkened the nest last night. 

Viewers watching the web cam at midnight reported that an owl came close enough to rile the eagle parents, who did a good job of letting the owl know the nest was off limits.

One eagle cam fan captured about 5 minutes of the action and posted it on YouTube. The eagles are quite vocal, although there's a buzz in the audio.

The YouTube poster says you can fast-forward to about the 4:27 and 4:52 marks to hear the owl calling back

If you want a review, here are some highlight clips of the major developments:

First hatch 4/2/11.
24-hour collage
of first egg pip and hatch


Second hatch 4/3/11.
First glimpse
of second hatchling
  

Third hatch 4/6/11.
Close-ups
of the third hatch

Click here for a  tutorial on telling the difference between the male and female bald eagle adults, which share the duties of raising the young.

Snake River spring chinook fishing seasons start April 20

SALMON FISHING — Three sections of the Snake River will open to fishing for spring chinook salmon starting April 20 with the stretch below Ice Harbor Dam, according to an announcement just released by the Washington  Department of Fish and Wildlife

Idaho's spring chinook season opens April 23.

Two other Washington sections of the Snake River – one near Little Goose Dam, the other near Clarkston – will open April 25.

Read on for more details and catch limits.

Washington coastal salmon fishing seasons set

SALTWATER FISHING — Coastal salmon fishing season have just been negotiated and released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and treaty Indian co-managers at the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s  meeting in San Mateo, Calif.

Read on for details of the fishing package, which defines regulations for salmon fisheries in Puget Sound, Washington’s ocean and coastal areas and the Columbia River.

Public invited to Trail of Coeur d’Alenes meeting

TRAILS — The commission that governs the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes — which stretches 72 miles from Mullan to Plummer —is having a meeting Thursday, and the public is invited. 

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. at the Heyburn State Park Visitor Center in Plummer.

An agreement between the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe establishes a partnership for the ownership, management and operation of the trail. Part of that called for a six-member commission to oversee trail management, a joint news release said.

Meetings are held twice per year.

Info: call the tribe at (208) 686-1800 or the Department of Parks and Recreation at (208) 769-1511.

Budget deal blocks Obama wilderness policy

WILDERNESS — A fledgling plan to make millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West eligible for federal wilderness protection was one of the casualties of Friday's last-minute budget deal reached by Congressional leaders to keep the government afloat.

Republican lawmakers had complained that the Obama administration's wilderness plan would circumvent Congress’s authority and could be used to declare a vast swath of public land off-limits to oil-and-gas drilling, according to an Associated Press report.

An agreement reached Friday night to avoid a government shutdown includes language that prohibits the Interior Department from spending money to implement the wilderness policy

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the plan in December, reversing a Bush-era policy that opened millions of acres of Western lands to commercial development. The so-called “wild lands” policy would restore eligibility for wilderness protection to millions of acres of public lands.

Read on for more from the AP report.

Salmon River logjam prevents training for rafting guides

RIVERS — River running outfitters training workers for the approaching season on the popular Salmon River in central Idaho have asked the state for permission to practice on other rivers due to a massive logjam, according to an Associated Press report this morning.

Grant Simonds of the Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association tells the Idaho Business Review that outfitters made the request so they can get ready for the season that starts at the end of May.

Officials say a blowout near the Black Creek drainage formed a logjam that created a new rapid.

About 9,000 visitors and workers float the river every summer.

U.S. Forest Service officials predict spring high water will remove the logjam.

The Forest Service used explosives to remove a logjam from the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in 2006.

Wyoming keeping a not-so-open mind about grizzlies

QUOTABLE:
 
“We're not interested in grizzly bears occupying new habitat except in areas where they already are. Socially acceptable habitat would be areas where grizzlies already occupy. We're not interested in expansion. We're maxed out on grizzly bears already.””
 
Brian Nesvik of the Wyoming Game and Fish, a member of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee, discussing future expansion of the region's grizzly bear population.
- Billing Gazette



 

Why won’t this Initiative fly at Washington Legislature?

OLYMPIA — Even these tough times, we should be able to get bipartisan support in Olympia for this well-thought out proposal.