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Volunteers to give Dishman Hills some TLC on Saturday

CONSERVATION — Friends of the Dishman Hills Natural Area in Spokane Valley are welcoming all volunteers to the end of Summer National Public Land Day event to spruce up this popular urban 'wilderness.'
Meet Saturday, 9:30 a.m. at Camp Caro (parking off Appleway and Sargent Road).

Activities will concentrate within the DHNA itself and two other trailheads.

Items to bring:

  • Work Gloves
  • Water
  • Snacks (if desired as none has been allocated for this event)

Arrangements have been made between the Dishman Hills Natural Area Association and Spokane County Parks and Recreation for the bathrooms to be open on Saturday. Eat a good breakfast to get you through the morning, but there's a rumor that doughnuts will be availablefor volunteers in the morning upon arrival at Camp Caro.

Tips for catching Rufus Woods triploid rainbow hogs

FISHING — Here's this week's tip for catching triploid rainbows at Lake Rufus Woods, from Anton Jones of Darrell and Dad's Family Guide Service:

He recommends fishing by the net pens.

Troll flies with action disks by Wigglefin, spinners or plugs.You can also cast Worden’s Super Roostertails for some great action. Fishing eggs cured with Pautzke’s Borx O’ Fire or simply Pautzke’s Fire Bait on a slip sinker rig up by the pens can get you some pigs.

Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper changing guard

CONSERVATION — Jennifer Ekstrom, executive director of the Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper has announced she's moving on to another career opportunity. 

Shannon Williamson will step in as the new Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper on Monday, Sept. 26. 

Williamson — shannon@lakependoreillewaterkeeper.org — is a marine biologist with a distinguished academic career. 

Read on for her resume and what she brings to protecting the Lake Pend Oreille watershed, as well as notes on where Ekstrom is headed.

Angler lands, releases 50-inch tiger musky at Curlew Lake

FISHING — Post Falls angler Chris Gades, fishing in a 24-hour tournament on Saturday, caught and released a monster 50-inch tiger musky after sundown in Curlew Lake.

Andy Walgamott was all over this story and another big Saturday catch in his Northwest Sportsman Magazine blog.

‘Backpacking Washington’ author to give slide show at REI

HIKING – Craig Romano, author of Washington Backpacking (Mountaineers Books) and several other hiking guidebooks, will present a free slide program on overnight and multiday backpacking routes across the state on Thursday (Sept. 22), 7 p.m., at REI, 1125 N. Monroe.

Idaho pike anglers to close season with October tournaments

FISHING — Two tournaments in October will close the eight-contest 2011 schedule for The North Idaho Pike Association.

The group will hold it’s 10th annual tourney at Hayden Lake on Oct 1-2 based out of Honeysuckle Boat Launch.

Their season is set to close with the Fall Classic, Oct. 29, at the south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene based from Rocky Point launch.

The group's most recent contest was Sept. 10-11 at Noxon Reservoir.

Biologists post Washington hunting prospects on web

HUNTING — Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists and staffers have posted on the agency's webesite their observations on prospects for hunting this fall.

There's information for districts across the state ranging from canned to to detailed. Check it out before you plan your hunt.

Also check out the information in The Spokesman-Review's Hunting 2011 special section of stories.

Hanford Reach salmon anglers landing kings

SALMON FISHING — Just received: The latest Hanford Reach salmon fishing report for Joe Hymer, the Columbia River salmon man from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Staff interviewed 353 boats last week with 203 adult Chinook, 33 jacks, and 3 coho.  Anglers averaged slightly better than a half a fish per boat. An estimated 845 adult Chinook, 137 jacks, and 12 coho were harvested this past week.  Effort is spreading out throughout the Hanford Reach and the Tri-cities.  An estimated 3,408 angler trips this past week with over 400 boats each day on the weekend.  For the season, 1,433 adult Chinook, 249 jacks, and 12 coho have been harvested.

The first in-season run update for the Hanford Reach was completed on September 15. An adult return estimate of 135,819 was expected to return in 2011. The current in-season return estimate is 58,478 adult Chinook, considerably lower than predicted.

Investigators: Fleeing may have triggered Yellowstone grizzly attack

WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — Investigators say a fatal bear mauling in Yellowstone National Park was possibly triggered by the California victim and his wife screaming and yelling as they ran from an approaching grizzly mother with cubs, according to an Associated Press report.

New details in the July 6 mauling of 57-year-old Brian Matayoshi emerged today as authorities released 911 recordings and investigative documents. Hikers who reported the attack can be heard on the recording saying they heard screaming and animal noises from the direction of the encounter.

A short time later, a lone female voice was heard calling for help.

Heading into bear country?

Click here for good information on hiking, hunting and traveling in grizzly country.

Idaho Fish and Game also has tips for hunting and camping in carnivore country on its Grizzly Bear webpage.

Moose gets cold reception near Pasco; makes hot meals for needy

WILDLIFE — Moose are finding new hazards in Eastern Washington as they stray from their strongholds in the wooded northeast portion of the state and wander west into the Columbia Basin.

This bull moose slipped into an irrigation canal and, like most wildlife and a few humans who get into this situation, it couldn't get out.

Tired from struggling with the steep sides and swift flowing water in the Esquatzel Diversion Channel, it curled up to rest on a clump of grass growing out of cracks in the concrete lined irrigation canal Monday about six miles north of Pasco, according to the Associated Press.

An officer from the Department of Fish and Wildlife later shot the animal because officials couldn’t determine a safe way to rescue the bull.

The meat will be donated to the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission.

Five bears destroyed in Revelstoke in a week: Might there be a problem?

WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — Five bears have been destroyed in Revelstoke, British Columbia, in the past week after wandering into town in search of food, according to the Conservation Office.

Might there be a problem there?

"All those bears have gone through the food conditioning and habituation process," Justyn Bell, a conservation officer based out of Golden told the Revelstoke Times Review. "All those bears were in the same neighbourhood around Oscar Street."

That total is the same as the number of bears destroyed in all of 2010, according to Revelstoke Bear Aware statistics.

Bear sightings are also spiking this month as animals wander down from the hills in search of food. There have been 123 bear sightings in all Revelstoke neighbourhoods this year and 44 of those have been since the beginning of this month.

Read on for more of the Times Review story.

Hummingbirds show birder new down-under feeding trick

BIRDWATCHING — Inland Northwest birder Nancy Miller of Viola, ID, photographed this hummingbird this week — possibly a sub-adult male Anna's hummingbird, experts say — feeding on her geraniums in a different way than she's noticed before:

"This one does something I’ve not seen them do – sits on the stem of the flower and gets nectar from any buds drooping within reach."

Salmon Derby set out of Tri-Cities Sept. 23-24

SALMON FISHING — More than $24,000 in prizes are set fo the Atomic Salmon Derby set for Sept. 23-24 out of the Trii Cities, sponsored by Grigg's and the Tri-Cities Ace stores.
All profits from the Derby will be going to K.O.E. (Kids Outdoor Experience)  This is the group that puts on the Kids Fishing Day at the Columbia Park Family Fishing pond every spring.
This is the first salmon derby open to the public in many years, organizers say.
Tickets are $60 for adults 16 and older, $25 for youth 15 and younger.
Tickets are available in the Tri-Cities at:
  • Grigg's Department Store - 801 W Columbia St, Pasco WA
  • Richland Ace Hardware & Sporting Goods - 1415 George Washington Way, Richland WA
  • Ace Hardware and Sporting Goods on Keene Road - 103 Keene Road, Richland WA
  • Other Locations - Pollywogs Sporting Goods in Desert Aire, and Hooked on Toys and Sporting Goods in Wenatchee.
Info: Grigg's, (509)  547-0566

Paddlers give TLC to Little Spokane River

CONSERVATION — Members of the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club are joining with St. George's School on Friday to pick up the summer season's accumulation of littler from the shores of the Little Spokane River.

Three cheers!

The volunteer work project is being organized by one of Spokane's most accomplished senior paddlers: Pat Harbine, 468-0954, email oldharb@aol.com

Meet local paddlers for feast, films, gear swap

CANOEING/KAYAKING – Get a flavor for the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club as members gather for the annual potluck, awards and gear swap plus a filmfest of videos from recent club trips.

The free event (bring a potluck dish) is Friday Sept. 23, 6:30 p.m. at the Corbin Community Center, 827 W. Cleveland.

Info:  Ken Stallman, 991-8494, goldcreekbuilding@comcast.net

Last chance to sign up for North Idaho youth waterfowling clinics

YOUTH HUNTING — A few openings are still available for three mentored waterfowl hunting opportunities for youth aged 15 and under, sponsored byThe Idaho Department of Fish & Game Department.

If you have a kid who might be interested in being exposed into this fascinating sport, don't miss this opportunit y.

The hunts are planned for Saturday, Sept. 24, the opening day of the annual youth-only waterfowl season which is open only to hunters age 15 and under.  The mentored hunting clinics will be held at Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Area, Heyburn State Park, and the Clark Fork River delta.

Participation will be by advanced reservation and space is limited.  Anyone interested should call to reserve a spot at one of the three clinics and to obtain additional details. 

  • For the Boundary Creek and Heyburn hunts, contact Dave Leptich at (208) 769-1414. 
  • For the Clark Fork hunt contact Ray Millard at (208) 264-5252

Young hunters will need to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and bring a shotgun and ammunition.  Young hunters will also need to secure a youth or small game license ($7.25) with a federal migratory bird permit ($1.75) prior to the event. 

Youth participants and a guardian will have the opportunity to spend a morning hunting with an experienced waterfowl hunter.  Following a morning hunt, all will be treated to a free barbeque and waterfowl hunting skills clinic. 

The idea is to expose youth to a quality hunting experience and provide their guardian with enough training to repeat the experience independently.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is also soliciting experienced waterfowl hunters willing to assist with the clinics.  If you want to help pass on the tradition of waterfowl hunting, please call either of the numbers listed above.

Grizzly bear amazes researchers with long swims in Flathead Lake

WILDLIFE RESEARCH — A young female grizzly bear fitted with a satellite collar for more than a year embarked on several lengthy swims across portions of Flathead Lake, wildlife officials in Montana said.

Sometimes the bear was in the water for 8-12 hours at a time, according to an Associated Press story.

Rick Mace with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the 4-year-old grizzly made the swims after being captured on the west side of the lake near Flathead Lake Lutheran Camp late last summer.

Mace said the bear was fitted with the satellite collar she wore from June 2010 to earlier this month when it automatically dropped off as planned.

Read on for details, and watch out Michael Phelps.

Idaho sockeyes return in second largest numbers since 1950

FISHERIES — At least 1,071 Snake River sockeye salmon spawners have completed their journey from the Pacific Ocean 700 miles upstream to central Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley, making it the second largest return since the 1950s or longer.

Most of the salmon moved upstream in July. When they cross Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River just before entering Idaho — the eighth and final hydro project they encounter up the Columbia, Snake and Salmon rivers — they still have 400 miles to go.

The top sockeye count since Lower Granite was completed in 1975 was 2,201 in 2010. This year’s count is at least 1,502.

FAQs about fish transport project on White Salmon River

FISHERIES — Columbia River area anglers keenly interested in the effort to restore the White Salmon River salmon and steelhead fisheres upstream from the soon to be breached Condit Dam should check out the Frequently Asked Questions info from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Read on for the details about the Fish Capture and Transport Project underway around Condit Dam.

Free national forest access Saturday

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 Public Lands 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:

  • Veterans Day – Nov. 11

Is bird license needed to hunt forest grouse?

HUNTING — While an upland bird or small game license is needed to hunt pheasants and quail, and a migratory bird stamp is needed to hunt waterfowl, no special permits are needed in Idaho and Washington to hunt forest grouse — dusky, ruffed or spruce grouse.

Hunters simply need to have a current hunting license for hunting these forest grouse species.

Gutsy wrangler, horse fending off charging grizzly: Story strikes a chord

WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERSMy Sunday story about a female wrangler, her horse and their showdown with a grizzly bear has generating numerous emails from people for a wide range of reasons.

Some are simply glad to finally hear some positive news about people and their encounters with grizzlies this year, especially when the story was positive for both the people and the bear.

Others  — and not just the many horse women out there — are bolstered by Bolster's courage, poise and determination.

A few wonder if that horse, Tonk, is for sale.

But I have to tell you, after I interviewed Bolster, I came home for dinner and told my wife her tale.  When the tears started rolling down her cheeks, my instincts were confirmed: This is a good story.

National Parks to waive fees

PUBLIC LANDS — National parks and many other public land management areas will be waiving entrance fees on Saturday (Sept. 24) to celebrate National Public Lands Day.

The Park Service is waiving fees for a total of 17 days in 2011, the weekend of Veterans Day (Nov. 11-13).

Fee-free days have been offered the past two years as a cost-friendly family vacation option in the economic slump.

Methow Valley Fall Mountain Bike Festival starts Sept. 23

BICYCLING — The annuam Methow Valley Fall Mountain Bike Festival is next weekend, packed with activities from ranging from races and good exercise sitting backto watch films.

Check out the entire schedule at the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association's  festival website.

Read on for info from the festival press release.

Hunter culpable in death of partner, grizzly

HUNTING — While I'm still bowing my head in sympathy for the hunter and the family of the hunter who was killed by a grizzly bear in the remote far northwestern corner of Montana on Friday, I'm also shaking it back and forth now that more details have been revealed in today's news story.

Here's the perspective from the father of the young hunter who shot the bear.

Angler lands steelhead, bass on same cast

FISHING — This post and photo from Northwest fishing icon Buzz Ramsey:

While fishing the Deschutes with guide Bob Toman, ODFW NW Regional Manager Chris Wheaton landed a double, a summer steelhead and smallmouth bass, while casting a single FAT Fish plug in the half ounce size. Although not unheard of, it's rare to catch a steelhead and smallmouth bass on the same lure and cast. Bob and client were fishing about 3 miles upstream from the mouth of where the Deschutes River enters the Columbia.


Idaho hunter bagged 2 wolves in 2 minutes

HUNTING — Hunters have a seven-month season to kill two wolves in Idaho, but Boise's Stan Burt did it in about two minutes, according to Roger Phillips of the Idaho Statesman

Near McCall of the second day of Idaho's wolf hunt, Burt said he howled to see if any wolves were in the area.

"A whole chorus erupted," Burt told Phillips

Not only had Burt located a pack within a quarter mile, but the wolves had located him, and they headed in his direction.

He positioned himself in a clearing with a good view of the terrain.

Within minutes, Burt told Phillips he had at least eight wolves were milling around and looking for the source of the howling.

"They were basically all around me," he said.

He got his sights on a wolf about 75 yards away and shot it with his Ruger bolt-action rifle chambered in .223.

He expected the wolves to scatter, but they continued stirring in front of him.

"The gunshot did not bother them," he said. "It really unnerved me that they were not afraid of me after firing a rifle shot."

Hunter near Idaho-Montana border kills grizzly after bear kills hunting partner

HUNTING — A grizzly bear killed a hunter in Montana near the border of Boundary County, Idaho, today before another hunter fatally shot the bear, S-R police reporter Mehgann Cuniff reports.

Officials from the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service went to the scene of the attack, which occurred about 10 a.m. in the remote area of Buckhorn Mountain near the border Idaho-Montana.

The hunter who was killed is not a resident of Boundary County, officials said.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The hunter’s partner shot and killed the attacking grizzly, officials said.

Several rifle hunting seasons are open in the Boundary County region, including black bear, mountain lion, wolf and controlled hunts for moose and deer.

The Idaho Fish and Game Department bear hunting regulations page warns hunters that grizzlies can be encountered in the North Idaho units.

Heading into bear country?

Click here for good information on hiking, hunting and traveling in grizzly country.

Idaho Fish and Game also has tips for hunting and camping in carnivore country on its Grizzly Bear webpage.

Disabled hunters can sign up for special vehicle access on forests

HUNTING — Handicapped hunters in the Inland Northwest are making inroads to decent hunting opportunities on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests as well the Colville National Forest and two timberland companies.

Deadlines are approaching to sign up for several of the opportunities to drive motorized vehicles behind otherwise locked gates.

Hunters with certified disabilities can apply for access to hundreds of miles of otherwise closed roads on the Colville National Forest and Idaho Panhandle forests as well as Forest Capital Partners lands.

Inland Empire Paper Company also participates, although the road access is not exclusive to handicapped hunters.

The program allows hunters with disabilities to use a motorized vehicle on the designated roads, which are usually closed to motorized use year-round.

Several special platforms are being built by Inland Northwest Wildlife Council volunteers to accommodate hunters in wheelchairs at specially selected sites.

The Sandpoint Ranger District holds a drawing to select disabled hunters for special access behind gates on three roads during big-game seasons. The deadline to apply is Sept. 28.

The deadline to apply for access to roads on the Coeur d’Alene District is Sept. 30.

Generally, hunters must provide a copy of their disabled hunting license and handicapped vehicle hunting permit, make, model and year of the vehicle to be used, and the name of the hunting assistant.

Washington contacts include:

  • Colville National Forest, (509) 446-7500. Hunters also can sign up at the BLM & Colville National Forest Information Desk, 1103 N. Fancher in Spokane Valley.
  • Forest Capital Partners timber company has designated areas in Stevens County with access coordinated by Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, (509) 487-8552.

Idaho contacts include:

  • Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District in Fernan, (208) 783-2363.
  • Sandpoint Ranger District, (208) 63-5111.
  • Bonners Ferry Ranger District, (208) 267-5561.
  • Craig Mountain Wildlife Area on the Snake River, coordinated by Idaho Fish and Game Department, (208) 799-5010.

Read on for details on disabled hunter programs on the Sandpoint and Coeur d'Alene Ranger Districts:

Long-range weather predictions spell good news for NW skiers, river runners

La Niña, which contributed to extreme weather around the globe during the first half of 2011, has re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is forecast to gradually strengthen and continue into winter. Forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center have upgraded last month’s La Niña Watch to a La Niña Advisory.

NOAA will issue its official winter outlook in mid-October, but La Niña winters often see drier than normal conditions across the southern tier of the United States and wetter than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley.

“This means drought is likely to continue in the drought-stricken states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center. “La Niña also often brings colder winters to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Plains, and warmer temperatures to the southern states.”