Category Archives: Headlines

DON'T GIVE UP ON IDAHO DEER HUNTING QUITE YET, GRAMPA APPLEGATE! IDAHO GAME COMMISSIONERS APPROVED (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

Idaho 2015 Big Game Hunting Seasons Set

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

After an intensive public outreach, Fish and Game wildlife managers have presented the Fish and Game Commission with proposed hunting rules and regulations for the 2015 and 2016 big game hunting seasons. Commissioners unanimously approved the proposals during a scheduled meeting in Boise on March 24, including converting the season setting process to a 2-year cycle for white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion, and gray wolf. The 2015 and 2016 seasons and rules are designed to provide more opportunity after a third consecutive mild winter throughout most of Idaho.

Managers heard from more than 2500 people during an outreach for public input. Comments were received through open houses, sportsman shows and live online web chats.

DON'T GIVE UP ON IDAHO DEER HUNTING QUITE YET, GRAMPA APPLEGATE! IDAHO GAME COMMISSIONERS APPROVED (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

DON’T GIVE UP ON IDAHO DEER HUNTING QUITE YET, GRANDPA APPLEGATE! IDAHO GAME COMMISSIONERS SAY THAT WITH ANOTHER WEAK WINTER, HERDS ARE THRIVING AND LEADING TO THE “BIGGEST INCREASE IN OPPORTUNITY” OF THE GEM STATE’S BIG GAME SPECIES IN 2015. LARRY APPLEGATE HAD TOLD HIS GRANDSON, TRASK, THAT LAST YEAR WOULD BE THE LAST, AND THAT SPURRED THE OREGON LAD TO GUIDE HIM INTO THIS BIG DWORSHAK WHITETAIL. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

Deer hunters will enjoy the biggest increase in opportunity in 2015, as populations continue to thrive. Managers are now using GPS radio collars to supplement monitoring in seven elk monitoring zones. Research indicates herds are at or above management objectives in various parts of the state including the Boise River and Smoky Bennett Zones. This will result in extra opportunity for elk hunters, especially in units where elk are creating depredation concerns for property owners.

The proposals also include some very specific changes in relatively small geographic areas to enhance certain hunts for other big game species, to achieve population objectives for various species and to address potential conflicts among different groups of hunters.

The 2015 and 2016 big game hunting seasons and rules brochures will be available on Fish and Game’s website by mid-April and at Fish and Game offices and vendors statewide by the end of April.

JOHN BRACE SHOWS OFF A METHOW RIVER STEELHEAD FROM A COUPLE SEASONS BACK NOW. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Steelheading On Upper Columbia, Tribs To Close After March 31

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Steelhead and whitefish fisheries to close on the upper Columbia River, tributaries

Action:   Closure of steelhead and whitefish fishing on the upper Columbia River including the Wenatchee, Entiat, Methow, Okanogan, and Similkameen rivers.

Species affected:   Steelhead and whitefish.

JOHN BRACE SHOWS OFF A METHOW RIVER STEELHEAD FROM A COUPLE SEASONS BACK NOW. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

JOHN BRACE SHOWS OFF A METHOW RIVER STEELHEAD FROM A COUPLE SEASONS BACK NOW. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective dates:   One hour after official sunset on March 31, 2015.

Locations:

Mainstem Columbia River:  From Rock Island Dam upstream to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.
Wenatchee River:  From the mouth to the Wenatchee River 400 feet below Tumwater Dam, including the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
Entiat River:  From the mouth to approximately ? mile upstream to a point perpendicular with the intersection of the Entiat River Road and Hedding Street.
Methow River: From the mouth to the confluence of the Chewuch River in Winthrop.
Okanogan River: From the mouth to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville.
Similkameen River: From the mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam.

Reason for action:   The season is closed to minimize impacts to spawning steelhead.

WHISTLER PEAK AND CUTTHROAT MOUNTAIN, LOCATED IN THE OKANOGAN-WENATCHEE NATIONAL FOREST IN FAR NORTHERN CHELAN COUNTY, POKE OUT OF THE CLOUDS ON A MID-OCTOBER 2014 DAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

NSIA, Others Speak Out In Favor Of Federal Lands, Funding

THE FOLLOWING IS A JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION AND OTHERS MENTIONED BELOW

Americans of all political stripes agree that our treasured parks and public lands, including national forests, wildlife refuges, and conservation lands, shouldn’t be sold to the highest bidder but instead protected for our children and grandchildren to visit and enjoy. Yet some members of the 114th Congress are considering proposals to transfer public lands into private or state ownership—affecting public access and economic opportunity. Additional congressional proposals have aimed at removing protections from existing public lands and preventing the President from further protecting our parks and public lands.

It is likely that these misinformed efforts to undermine public lands protections and offer them up to the highest bidder could rear their head again this week during a process known in Washington, D.C., as the “vote-a-rama,” an all-day, and likely all-night, U.S. Senate session where lawmakers can offer an unlimited amount of amendments to the pending legislation, specifically the proposed budget resolution for fiscal year 2016. The results of these public lands votes could have devastating impacts on all Americans, and particularly those in the Western U.S., whose livelihoods depend on clean water, clean air and access to public lands.

WHISTLER PEAK AND CUTTHROAT MOUNTAIN, LOCATED IN THE OKANOGAN-WENATCHEE NATIONAL FOREST IN FAR NORTHERN CHELAN COUNTY, POKE OUT OF THE CLOUDS ON A MID-OCTOBER 2014 DAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

WHISTLER PEAK AND CUTTHROAT MOUNTAIN, LOCATED IN THE OKANOGAN-WENATCHEE NATIONAL FOREST IN FAR NORTHERN CHELAN COUNTY, POKE OUT OF THE CLOUDS ON A MID-OCTOBER 2014 DAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“Our public lands are part of our Western heritage. They offer scenic beauty and a great diversity of recreational uses, and help drive local economies,” said Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO). “The Land and Water Conservation Fund has a proven track record of conserving parks, open spaces, and wildlife habitats for the benefit of future generations, without asking American taxpayers to shoulder the burden. The program doesn’t need to be reformed or amended, just reauthorized and fully funded so it can continue with its current track record of success.”

Added Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), “Selling off America’s treasured lands to the highest bidder would result in a proliferation of locked gates and no-trespassing signs in places that have been open to the public and used for generations. This would devastate outdoor traditions like hunting, camping and fishing that are among the pillars of Western culture and a thriving outdoor recreation economy. These lands are public, which means we each have a voice in their management. America’s forests, wildlife refuges and conservation lands are part of the fabric of our democracy. Let’s keep them that way.”

If these “vote-a-rama” amendments are similar to those introduced earlier this year, they are almost certainly reiterating long-debunked myths about our nation’s public lands.

Myth:            Selling off public lands can help reduce the federal deficit 

Fact:                While the federal budget does have serious problems, a one-time sale of priceless public lands is not the answer. For one, it would never bring in anywhere near the money necessary, and more importantly, it wouldn’t begin to address the root of the problem: Washington’s inability to properly budget to meet its expenses. Once these lands are gone, they’re gone forever, yet the problems that forced the sale would endure. Further, the overwhelming majority of Americans opposes the idea of selling off their public lands, preferring instead to keep them protected for their children and future generations to enjoy just as they have.

Myth:            The Antiquities Act is used too widely or without local input and should be reformed or even revoked

Fact:                Both Democratic and Republican presidents (16 in total) have used the Antiquities Act to protect some of our nation’s most iconic places, including the Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, and Joshua Tree, which are now economic drivers. Citizens are calling on Washington to do more – not less – to protect our shared public lands, and public input on each of the last 16 national monument designations is well documented. Communities across America are telling Washington that they cannot afford to wait any longer while Congress is politicking; local tourism economies, clean water supplies, wildlife habitat and critical access to public lands are in the balance.

Myth:            Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) dollars should be used to pay down the national parks’ maintenance backlog

Fact:                Royalty payments from the oil and gas industry fund the LWCF, not tax dollars. Congress intended these payments to replace the depletion of one public resource—offshore oil and gas development—through the protection of another—parks, forests, lakes, rivers, and American historic sites. Land and water conservation investments save taxpayer money, benefit local tourism economies, and provide clean air and water, all the while protecting America’s magnificent cathedrals of nature and history from development.

Americans who rely on our public lands for recreation and to make a living are also speaking out against efforts to undermine our shared national heritage.

“As a small business owner, I applaud President Obama’s designation of a unique place like Browns Canyon as a National Monument. His action helped ensure the well-being of our community, our local economy, and our children,” said Joel Benson, owner of Buena Vista Roastery in Colorado. “For more than 100 years, presidents have established national monuments through the Antiquities Act. In so doing, they have utilized their ability to ensure that these national treasures are preserved for future generations. Our Congressional leaders should listen to local residents, who have called upon them to protect Browns Canyon for the last 20 years.”

Liz Hamilton, Executive Director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, added, “Our Industry needs Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Anglers and hunters have greatly benefited from this program through increased access to prime outdoor recreation areas. From the Skagit River to the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s investments in habitat protection and fishing access is a big reason why Washington anglers pumped more than $1.1 billion into local economies in 2011.”

Said Max Trujillo, Sportsman Organizer for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, “All it takes is just one trip to New Mexico for someone to see why our state is known as the Land of Enchantment. This is not a new phenomenon; New Mexicans have accessed and enjoyed our public lands for centuries, whether it be for hunting, fishing, hiking, or gathering firewood and pinon pine nuts. Congress shouldn’t be looking to sell our public lands out from under us. We need these lands to stay just as they are so my children and grandchildren can enjoy them just as I have.”

(WDFW)

Hells Canyon Duo Fined $12,000 For Poaching Trophy Elk

The plea deal of a father and son who poached and largely wasted a pair of trophy bull elk near the top of Couse Creek in Asotin County last fall is being scrutinized in recent articles.

While much of the jail time and court fines that Richard J. Kramer, 39, of Anatone, Wash., and Johnathan R. Kramer, 23, of Lewiston, Idaho, could have received for illegal hunting, wastage, transportation and trespassing were suspended or whittled down to nominal amounts, they were still handed a $12,000 criminal wildlife penalty.

It could have been twice as much if convicted on the other charges, according to a local news report.

(WDFW)

(WDFW)

“My hope is that everyone else in our community will decide that it simply is not worth it to hunt illegally or poach animals when they see the significant amount of fines and fees that the Kramers now owe as well as the jail time to which they were sentenced,” Asotin County deputy prosecutor Catherine Enright told Big Country News Connection last week.

“In the grand scheme of things it’s probably an indication of prosecutors being understaffed and overworked,” Sgt. Paul Mosman told Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune in an article picked up by a Spokane blog today. “Across the state, they dismiss a lot of (poaching cases) so it’s nice to see them go through with this one.”

According to local news reports, early last November the Kramers were driving near the junction of Wiessenfels Ridge Road and Kisecker Road southeast of Anatone when the two bulls turned up in their headlights.

Richard Kramer told officers that he shot them while his son held the spotlight, according to Big Country News Connection.

Officers were tipped off to the crime after he bragged about it at a Clarkston business. A visit to their trailer turned up fresh elk meat and heads.

Both were charged in January with two counts of second-degree unlawful big game hunting, two counts of first-degree waste of big game, two counts of first-degree unlawful transportation of wildlife, two counts of second-degree spotlighting, and one count of retrieving wildlife from the property of another.

The elder Kramer had also been charged with two counts of unlawfully using a firearm.

The spotlighting charges were dismissed, but other charges largely led to $150 fines instead of larger ones.

Richard Kramer was given two years of probation and either 10 days in jail or home monitoring, while his son was sentenced to 10 days in jail as well as two years of probation, according to local reports.

In addition, they both will lose their Washington hunting privileges for two years, as well as in dozens of other states, thanks to the interstate wildlife compact.

AN ANGLER HOLDS A CLEARWATER RIVER SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE 2012 SEASON. (JEFF HOLMES)

Springer Fishing In Idaho Opens April 25

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH & GAME

The Fish and Game Commission has approved seasons and rules for the earliest of Idaho’s Chinook salmon fishing. The rules are designed around four major objectives:

  • Providing protection of ESA (Environmental Species Act) protected fish
  • Providing harvest opportunity
  • Providing diversity of opportunity
  • Allow a flexible, adaptive and responsive approach to in-season changes

The rules are based on a projected spring Chinook run size that is similar to 2014. As of March 22, almost 500 Chinook salmon were counted at Bonneville Dam, the first of eight dams salmon pass on their journey to Idaho. While this number is larger than for the same date since 2004, it is a small fraction of the number of spring Chinook salmon expected in Idaho. The seasons and rules approved by the Commission are based on a projected sport harvest of approximately 11,700 adipose clipped Chinook salmon in the Clearwater, Snake, lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

AN ANGLER HOLDS A CLEARWATER RIVER SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE 2012 SEASON. (JEFF HOLMES)

AN ANGLER HOLDS A CLEARWATER RIVER SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE 2012 SEASON. (JEFF HOLMES)

The Commission approved an April 25 opening date, with closures to be made as harvest dictates.

In the Clearwater Basin, except for the South Fork Clearwater River, limits are set at four fish per day, only one of which may be an adult. The possession limit in these parts of the Clearwater River drainage will be twelve fish, only three of which may be adults.

In the South Fork Clearwater, lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake River fisheries, anglers will be allowed to keep four fish per day, only two of which may be adults. The possession limit in these fisheries will be twelve fish, of which only six may be adults.

The season limit will be 20 adult Chinook salmon for seasons prior to September 1. Adult Chinook salmon are defined as those 24 inches and longer.

Other rules and special restrictions for the Chinook salmon fishery will be available in the 2015 spring Chinook salmon brochure. These seasons and rules for spring Chinook salmon fishing in Idaho will be available at Fish and Game offices and vendors prior to the April 25 season opener. They will also be posted on the Fish and Game website prior to April 25.

The Commission is tentatively set to consider Chinook salmon fisheries on the South Fork Salmon and upper Salmon Rivers at its May meeting. Fish return to those areas later than to the Clearwater River and Rapid River Hatcheries, giving managers more time to develop fishery proposals for those areas.

AN ANNOUNCEMENT ON FINAL CRITICAL HABITAT FOR THE WOODLAND CARIBOU FORM THE U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE INCLUDED THIS IMAGE OF A BULL FROM THE SOUTHERN SELKIRK POPULATION. (USFWS)

USFWS Reopens Comment On Woodland Caribou Status

With Canadian biologists saying that their Southern woodland caribou herds are in even more trouble, American wildlife managers today announced that they are reopening public comment on an amended listing for the rare alpine species.

The caribou, some of which still haunt the extreme northeastern corner of Washington and northern Idaho Panhandle, are currently federally listed as endangered on the U.S. side of the border, but a population assessment performed on the BC side last year downgraded the southernmost herds from threatened to endangered.

AN ANNOUNCEMENT ON FINAL CRITICAL HABITAT FOR THE WOODLAND CARIBOU FORM THE U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE INCLUDED THIS IMAGE OF A BULL FROM THE SOUTHERN SELKIRK POPULATION. (USFWS)

AN ANNOUNCEMENT ON FINAL CRITICAL HABITAT FOR THE WOODLAND CARIBOU FROM THE U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE INCLUDED THIS IMAGE OF A BULL FROM THE SOUTHERN SELKIRK POPULATION. (USFWS)

That new scientific info subsequently became available to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists after they had proposed last spring to list the species as threatened, and so the agency reopened comment through April 23.

The Canadian report that sparked the reopening lists these as primary threats to the South Selkirks and other southern herds:

Altered predator/prey dynamics due to habitat change resulting from forest harvesting in adjacent low elevation valley bottoms, and from increased predator efficiency using trails created by snowmobiling and heli-skiing. Infectious diseases are likely to cause increasing negative impacts, particularly in a changing
climate.

This winter, provincial authorities announced they would remove up to 24 wolves to help out the transnational herd. No word on how the mission has been going, but it’s generated a lot of publicity.

USFWS had been asked to delist caribou on the south side of the border, but maintains they are a discrete, distinct population with a 30,000 acres designated as critical habitat.

To comment, go here, and enter Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2012-0097.

CLAM MASTER WALLY SANDE AND HIS GRANDKIDS CORBIN, LEXI AND AUSTIN, WIFE CAROL AND THEIR DAUGHTER BRITT HAN. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

WDFW Proposes Two Dozen Days Of Diggin’ Razor Clams In April, May

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has proposed a series of razor clam digs in April and May to cap a season packed with more “beach days” than any time in the past 25 years.

After a nine-day opening that runs through March 24, state shellfish managers plan to end the season with another 24 days of digging on morning low tides at various beaches from April 4 through May 17.

CLAM MASTER WALLY SANDE AND HIS GRANDKIDS CORBIN, LEXI AND AUSTIN, WIFE CAROL AND THEIR DAUGHTER BRITT HAN. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

CLAM MASTER WALLY SANDE AND HIS GRANDKIDS CORBIN, LEXI AND AUSTIN, WIFE CAROL AND THEIR DAUGHTER BRITT HAN. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Final approval of those digs depends on the results of marine toxin tests, which have consistently shown this season that the clams are safe to eat.

“We’ve had a great season so far and we expect it to continue that way in the months ahead,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “We have an abundance of clams on most beaches, which makes for some terrific digging opportunities.”

Proposed digging days in April and May, along with the remaining digs in March, are posted on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

Under state law, diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container. No digging is allowed on any beach after noon.

Counting the new dates in April and May, Ayres said WDFW plans to provide a total of 286 “beach days” of digging on Washington beaches this season – the highest number since 1989. He defined a “beach day” as one beach open for a single day, so four beaches open for one day counts as four beach days.

Annual razor clam seasons typically end in mid-to-late May, when the clams begin to spawn and are less desirable for eating, Ayres said.

He reminds diggers they will need a valid 2015-16 fishing license to participate in razor clam digs effective April 1, the beginning of the new license year. Various types of fishing licenses are available online (fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), by phone (866-246-9453), and from authorized license dealers throughout the state.

Meanwhile, state wildlife managers are urging clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in the soft, dry sand at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula and on a section of Twin Harbors beach.

The snowy plover is a small bird with gray wings and a white breast. The lark is a small bird with a pale yellow breast and brown back. Male larks have a black mask, breast band and “horns.” Both species are listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.

“Nesting season for snowy plovers and streaked horned larks begins in early April, coinciding with the scheduled clam digs,” said Anthony Novack, district biologist for WDFW. “Snowy plover nests are difficult to see, so it’s easy to disturb or destroy them without even being aware of it. If an adult is scared off its nest, it leaves the eggs exposed to predators like crows and ravens.”

To protect these birds, the department asks that clam diggers avoid the dunes and areas of the beach with soft, dry sand. When driving to a clam-digging area, diggers should enter the beach only at designated access points and stay on the hard-packed sand near or below the high tide line, Novack said.

Dig dates in May for Copalis and Mocrocks will be announced after harvest from the April digs has been analyzed. Upcoming digs in April and May are scheduled on the following dates, pending favorable marine toxin results:

April 4, Saturday, 7:23 a.m.; 0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
April 5, Sunday, 7:57 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
April 6, Monday, 8:32 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
April 7, Tuesday, 9:09 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
April 8, Wednesday, 9:48 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
April 9, Thursday, 10:32 a.m.; 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
April 10, Friday, 11:23 a.m.; 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors

April 17, Friday, 6:03 a.m.; -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
April 18, Saturday, 6:52 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
April 19, Sunday, 7:39 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
April 20, Monday, 8:25 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
April 21, Tuesday, 9:11 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
April 22, Wednesday, 9:57 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
April 23, Thursday, 10:46 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
April 24, Friday, 11:38 a.m.; 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors

May 2, Saturday, 6:23 a.m., 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
May 3, Sunday, 6:59 a.m., -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors

May 7, Thursday, 9:30 a.m., -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
May 8, Friday, 10:14 a.m., -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
May 9, Saturday, 11:03 a.m., -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
May 10, Sunday, 11:58 a.m., -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors

May 15, Friday, 4:58 a.m., -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
May 16, Saturday, 5:50 a.m., -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
May 17, Sunday, 6:38 a.m., -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors

CENTRAL WASHINGTON CHINOOK HOUND GARRETT GRUBBS TRAVELED TO IDAHO'S CLEARWATER RIVER TO FISH FOR SPRING CHINOOK IN 2010. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

IDFG Setting Salmon Seasons, May Expand Big Game Ops In Many Units

THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH & GAME

Salmon Migration Begins – Commission to set Spring Seasons

As the first spring Chinook salmon move into the Columbia Basin, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission is preparing to set seasons and limits for Idaho anglers.

Fisheries managers are expecting spring Chinook returns to be average or slightly above average, depending on the river.  Meanwhile, early season projections suggest the return of summer Chinook to the South Fork Salmon River will be the second best in ten years and the return of wild spring Chinook could be above average.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON CHINOOK HOUND GARRETT GRUBBS TRAVELED TO IDAHO'S CLEARWATER RIVER TO FISH FOR SPRING CHINOOK IN 2010. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

CENTRAL WASHINGTON CHINOOK HOUND GARRETT GRUBBS TRAVELED TO IDAHO’S CLEARWATER RIVER TO FISH FOR SPRING CHINOOK IN 2010. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Biologists estimate more than 30,000 hatchery origin spring Chinook will return to the lower Salmon River, Little Salmon River, Clearwater River and Snake River at Hells Canyon. Managers will propose seasons and limits based on a projected sport harvest of approximately 11,700 adipose clipped spring Chinook salmon. These numbers are very similar to those experienced during the spring 2014 Chinook salmon run.

The Commission will hear public comments on these and other issues on Monday March 23 in the main auditorium at the Washington Group Plaza at 720 East Park Boulevard in Boise. The public hearing begins at 7 p.m. Anyone wishing to address the Commission on these proposals and any other Fish and Game related issues is urged to attend.

The Commission is expected to take action on these proposals during a meeting on Tuesday March 24 in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game Headquarters at 600 South Walnut in Boise. That meeting begins at 8:00 a.m.

To view the agenda and the 2015 Commission meeting schedule, go to:   http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=184.

Commission to Consider Expanded Big Game Hunting Opportunity

In a scheduled meeting in Boise on Tuesday March 24, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission will consider proposals for the 2015 big game hunting season. The proposals will include expanded opportunity for big game hunting in many units throughout the state. Much of the additional opportunity will be available to deer hunters, as another mild winter has kept populations high.

The Commission will also consider a series of proposals regarding elk hunts, many of which address depredation concerns. The proposals also include some very specific changes in relatively isolated areas to enhance certain hunts for other big game species, and to achieve population objectives for various species.

The Commission will hear public comments on these and other issues on Monday March 23 in the main auditorium at the Washington Group Plaza at 720 East Park Boulevard in Boise. The public hearing begins at 7 p.m. Anyone wishing to address the Commission on these proposals and any other Fish and Game related issues is urged to attend.

The Commission is expected to take action on these proposals during a meeting on Tuesday March 24 in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game Headquarters at 600 South Walnut in Boise. That meeting begins at 8:00 a.m.

To view the agenda and the 2015 Commission meeting schedule, go to:   http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=184.

ODFW Hosting Fam Fishing Event In Lincoln City March 28

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is hosting a Family Fishing Event Saturday, March 28 at Devils Lake in Lincoln City.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Regatta Park. ODFW will stock the lake with 6,500 rainbow trout, including 2,000 fish that will be released in a large net pen reserved for youths.

ODFW staff and volunteers will be present to hand out equipment, and be available to teach youngsters how to bait, cast, and “reel in” their catch.

Adults can get tips on basic rigging, fish identification and casting.

This is the first of dozens of family fishing events that will be held throughout the state this year. These events are intended to help families to learn how to fish together and discover just how much fun it can be .

“This will be our second annual event at Devil’s Lake,” said Christine Clapp, fish biologist in Newport. “It’s still a relatively small event compared to some others, so it’s a great opportunity to get your kids out fishing without the lines that form at some of our other events.”

Licenses are required for anyone over the age of 13, and are not available at the events. If you need a fishing license you may purchase one online or at one of ODFW’s license outlets. Juvenile licenses cost $9 each. To purchase a license on-line, visit ODFW’s website at:  http://www.dfw.state.or.us/online_license_sales/index.asp .

For a list of other family fishing events, visit ODFW’s Outdoor Skills page at: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/education/angling/family_fishing.asp

(RMEF)

RMEF Awards $280,000 For Wildlife Projects In 20 OR Counties

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded grants to fund 20 conservation projects that will improve more than 23,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the state of Oregon.

The grants total $279,733 and directly benefit Crook, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Lincoln, Linn, Tillamook, Union, Wallowa and Yamhill Counties.

(RMEF)

(RMEF)

“Oregon is home to some great elk country,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This grant funding will pay for prescribed burning, aspen and meadow restoration, noxious weed treatments and other projects that will enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife.”

Allen thanked Oregon’s volunteers for carrying out banquets, membership drives and other events that raised the money for the on-the-ground projects in their own backyard.

“We see it again and again in Oregon and all around the nation. Our volunteers and members care so much and work so hard for the benefit of elk country. To them we say ‘Thank you,’” added Allen.

Here is a sampling of Oregon’s 2015 projects, listed by county:

Grant County—Treat 450 acres of weed infestations across a 13,000 acre landscape that includes crucial winter range to complement an ongoing program of spring development, forage openings, fuels reduction and wet meadow protection on private land that allows public hunting adjacent to the Bridge Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Harney County—Rehabilitate and protect a rare, large, wet meadow along Alder Creek in the Stinkingwater Mountains by constructing a series of engineered check dams and fill to stabilize and rehab the stream channel. In addition, a 110-acre exclosure will be built to keep livestock out of the meadow (also affects Grant County).

Jackson County—Apply prescribed underburning to 425 acres on the western slope of the southern Cascade Mountains in a recently commercially thinned area to jumpstart early seral recruitment in order to increase forage quality and quantity for elk on yearlong habitat and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire on the Rogue River National Forest.

Lake County—Thin 800 acres within aspen stands in a larger project area to reduce conifers and improve habitat on elk summer range and birthing areas on the Fremont-Winema National Forest .

For a complete list of Oregon’s projects, go here.

Partners for the Oregon projects include the Fremont-Winema, Ochoco, Rogue River-Siskiyou, Siuslaw, Umatilla, Umpqua, Wallowa-Whitman and Willamette National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, private landowners and various sportsmen, wildlife, civic, tribal and government organizations.

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 791 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $53.6 million. These projects have protected or enhanced 768,210 acres of habitat and have opened or secured public access to 28,463 acres.