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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Field reports: Big Sheep Creek fishing closed unintentionally

FISHING – Justin Rowley’s long drive to northern Stevens County to fish Big Sheep Creek was interrupted last weekend when Washington Fish and Wildlife police told him he had to pack up and leave.

“I’m absolutely irate. They informed me the creek is closed until further notice,” he added, noting that they couldn’t give him a good reason for the closure of a stream he’s fished most of his life.

“They said it shouldn’t be, but it is.”

Big Sheep Creek is closed this season because of an oversight in the restructuring of stream regulations in the 2015 season, said Bill Baker, the department’s fisheries biologist based in Colville.

“In the past, East Side streams were considered open unless specified closed,” he said, noting that under the new rules streams are closed unless specified open.

The absence of Big Sheep Creek in the 2016 regulations is the only notice of the closure. The agency did not issue a public notice.

“Big Sheep Creek and other Columbia River tributaries between the Highway 25 bridge at Northport and the Canadian border were not captured in the (law) that governs WDFW’s fishing regulations,” Baker said.

“There is no biological or conservation concern behind the closure. It was simply an oversight, and I’m frustrated that the laws don’t let me correct the mistake.”

Normally, the creek would have opened for fishing on the Saturday before Memorial Day through Oct. 31. Baker said it appears the season will not be opened this year.

West Nile Virus

at Lake Roosevelt

INSECTS – Some mosquitoes in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area near Kettle Falls have tested positive for West Nile Virus, the Washington Department of Health reports.

The virus was confirmed this week in mosquitoes near the Kettle Falls day use area and group site campground, National Park Service officials say.

Mosquitoes have been unusually numerous in that area this season, prompting an early July advisory from park staff warning campers to bring insect repellent and cover up as much as possible.

“We are working with the Washington Department of Health, our region and national staff to understand the situation and map out the most appropriate course of action,” Dan Foster, park superintendent, said Friday.

National Park Service policy does not normally allow for mosquito control unless a public safety issue is found, he had said earlier in the month.

The National Park Service is referring public questions to the Washington Department of Health West Nile web page, guidance about symptoms.

Editor’s note: A phone number provided with the original version of this story online and in print was reportedly swamped with calls, prompting the DOH to request the paper to post the web information instead.

Specific questions concerning West Nile Virus in Stevens County should be directed to Northeast Tri County Health District.

Visitors who think they may have been exposed to West Nile Virus should check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for guidance about symptoms.

Meanwhile, park staff recommends wearing loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants combined with a mosquito repellent.

Most people infected with West Nile Virus will have no symptoms, the CDCP says, adding:

    - About 1 in 5 people who is infected will develop a fever with other symptoms.

    - Fewer than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.

    - No medications have been developed to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection.

Fishing, hunting fees

topic for commission

WILDLIFE – Proposals for raising fishing and hunting license fees will be reviewed by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission during its meeting Friday and Saturday in Olympia.

The proposals are in the early stages of development for presentation to the 2017 Washington Legislature.

Also on the meeting agenda is a presentation on proposals for changing fishing rules at Lake Roosevelt.

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