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Thursday, July 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Field reports: Wolves spread into Western Washington

PREDATORS – Gray wolves continue to gain ground across Washington with recent documentation from Mount Spokane to the western slopes of the North Cascades.

A canine, apparently a wolf, was struck and killed by a vehicle Monday on Interstate 90 west of Snoqualmie Pass just 45 miles from downtown Seattle.

“It’s one of the first gray wolves confirmed killed west of the Cascade Crest since the state’s first wolf pack was confirmed in 2008,” said Dave Ware, Washington Fish and Wildlife wolf policy lead.

On the far-east side of the state, wolf tracks and scats have been documented on Mount Spokane.

“Now we apparently have one more reason for people to keep their dogs on leashes when they bring them up here,” said Steven Christensen, Mount Spokane State Park manager.

Wolves are known to be aggressive to dogs they perceive as a threat to their territory. 

“The other reason is that it’s the law,” he said.

“Wolves have been coming through Mount Spokane for quite some time,” says Madonna Luers, Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman, but wildlife officials say they have no confirmation that a wolf pack is established in the Mount Spokane area.

“This is when pups are emerging from their dens, and the older members of the packs are making regular hunting trips into adjacent areas to bring food back to rendezvous sites,” Ware said. The discovery of a wolf pack near Snoqualmie Pass would be especially big news and a game-changer in wolf policy.

Wolves can be delisted from state endangered species protections after a specified number of breeding pairs are in each of three areas of the state. So far, no packs have been documented in Western Washington.

The wolf killed on I-90 may be the harbinger of a pack to come.

“This is pretty good evidence that wolves are probably moving into and around Western Washington,” Ware said.

The agency last week released a January trail camera image of a wolf just north of Hozomeen Campground in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area.

Others wolf-vehicle collisions have been documented near Tum Tum west of Spokane in 2008, on the north side of Blewett Pass in 2013 and near Ione in 2014.

Spring chinook piling into Idaho

FISHING – The 2015 spring chinook run is exceeding forecasts as it rushes into Idaho.

“By this weekend there should be 10 times as many fish in Idaho as we saw during the opener (last week),” Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager in Lewiston, said Thursday. 

“The Clearwater is going to fish awesome this year with the low water,” said Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing in Clarkston.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if this weekend people catch salmon in the Clearwater River upstream to Orofino and in the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam,” DuPont said. 

And many more fish are on their way. Washington reopened the springer season in the lower Columbia River for this weekend after a huge surge of chinook came over Bonneville Dam: more than 17,000 adult salmon on Tuesday followed by 11,300 on Wednesday and 13,700 Thursday.

State fish biologists raised their estimate for the run to 220,000 upriver fish.

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