Only 650,000 kokanee eggs were collected for rearing at Cabinet Gorge Fish Hatchery this season, a disappointing, but not insurmountable number, said Jim Fredericks, Idaho Fish and Game Department Panhandle Region fisheries manager.
“In better years we’ve taken 6 to 8 million eggs, and the hatchery has capacity for 16 million, so they’re definitely down,” he said.
“But we should be able to get a couple million eggs from Whatcom Hatchery (in Western Washington),” he added, noting the agency is still doing predator control and all it can to recover the kokanee fishery that’s all but collapsed in recent years.
Pend Oreille’s lake level is lower this winter with the blessing of biologists, he said.
“We had only about 30,000 female kokanee spawners this year, so we had enough spawning habitat even with the drawdown,” he said. “We like to do drawdowns periodically to let the wave action from winter storms clean those spawning gravels and keep them free of silt.”
“We hope to see more adults in the coming and years and they’ll find better gravel at higher elevations when they spawn.”
John Wayne Trail tunnels closed
Five tunnels on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail west of Ellensburg have been closed because of the risk of falling debris, the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission announced recently.
An engineering study found hazards in the tunnels between Snoqualmie Pass and Kittitas. The study estimates repairs would cost $9 million.
The trail follows a former railroad from the western slopes of the Cascades to Idaho. The 100-mile portion from near North Bend to the Columbia River near Vantage is managed as Iron Horse State Park.
The trail is open to hikers, bikers and horse riders, cross-country skiers, dog sleds and snowmobiles.
Staff and wire reports
Avalanche experts cite human factor
Avalanche experts meeting in Ketchum, Idaho, recently said backcountry adventurers increase their chances of being killed in snowslides by overestimating their abilities.
At a public forum, the experts also said the danger increases when skiers, boarders and snowmobilers succumb to peer pressure or incorrectly assume their familiarity with the terrain makes the situation safe.
Ian McCammon, an avalanche researcher who owns SnowPit Technologies in Salt Lake City, calls it the human factor.
Wintering deer get local help
Spokane members of the Mule Deer Foundation stepped up recently to reduce problems deer were causing near the Fairmont Memorial Park in northwest Spokane.
Up to 70 mule deer had grouped in the area partly because of the snowpack and partly because they’d been lured in by people putting out feed, members said.
The deer were causing considerable damage to vegetation in the cemetery and the neighborhood. Worse, they were getting into traffic, where at least four were killed in collisions.
Feeding deer is not recommended by the state Fish and Wildlife Department, but volunteers got the nod from biologists to set up feeders with alfalfa pellets to lure deer to a safer area where they’ll do less damage.
The Camp Caro area of the Dishman Hills Natural Area has been gated and closed by Spokane Parks and Recreation until April 14. Unleashed dogs had been chasing deer.
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