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St. Joe River campground host sought

April 20, 2014 6 a.m. - Updated: 11:13 a.m.

CAMPING – A campground host is being sought for the Huckleberry Campground along the St. Joe River 30 miles east of St. Maries, Idaho.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Coeur d'Alene District provides the volunteer hosts free camping and utilities for services five days a week.

Info: (208) 769-5041.

Read on for more details from the BLM:

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Mineral Ridge Trail a quick fix for hikers

April 19, 2014 5:47 p.m.

HIKING — David Taylor, who's already sampled some of the region's choice early season trails, made an early morning hike today on the Mineral Ridge Trail, which starts from the Beauty Bay area of Lake Coeur d'Alene.  (Head south from I-90 at the Wolf Lodge Bay exit).

The trail was in good shape and the view, as always, didn't disappoint.

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Snake River spring chinook fishing opens April 27

April 18, 2014 4:24 p.m. - Updated: 4:24 p.m.

FISHING – Two sections of the Snake River below Little Goose Dam and Clarkston  will open to fishing for spring chinook salmon Thursday, April 24. Two other sections of the river below Ice Harbor Dam near Pasco and below Lower Granite Dam will open April 27.

Each section of the river will be open three days a week.

The Little Goose Dam and Clarkston area sections will be open Thursday through Saturday. The sections of the river below Ice Harbor Dam and below Lower Granite Dam will be open Sunday through Tuesday.

Read on for the full announcement and details from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

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Ferry County Rail Trail trestle decked, ready to ride

April 18, 2014 4:05 p.m.

TRAILS — The Ferry County Rail Trail's Curlew Lake Trestle across the north end of the great fishing lake has been re-decked and is being opened for public use.

Ferry County Rail Trail Partners and the county commissioner’s Rail Corridor Committee will dedicate the bridge at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 at the east end of the trestle.

The Ferry County Rail Trail runs 28.5 miles on an abandoned railway from the U.S.-Canada border to an existing trail at Republic, the county seat. Some portions of the trail are in good condition for mountain biking while some stretches are still rough.  The stretch north from Curlew is especially nice as it follows the Kettle River.

“This project represents the culmination of several years of planning and effort by local, state and federal agencies and volunteers who are working together to improve the Ferry County Rail-Trail,” the Rail Trail Partners said in a media release.

Refreshments will be served after the ceremony refreshments followed by a group hike on the trail 2.5 miles to Black’s Beach.

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Two Rivers spring fishing derby postponed on Roosevelt

April 18, 2014 3:36 p.m.

FISHING — 

Trout Derby reset

by Roosevelt levels

OUTFISH – The annual Two Rivers Spring Trout Derby at Lake Roosevelt has been postponed because of this year’s deep drawdown of Lake Roosevelt, said organizer Dan Kieffer.

The event, originally set for next weekend, April 26-27, has been rescheduled for May 17-18, which the reservoir’s water levels should be on the rise, he said.

Other derbies also have been scheduled by Two Rivers Resort, which is on the Spokane Indian Reservation at the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers near Fort Spokane:

  • June 7-8 – Walleye Derby.
  • June 14-15 – Bass Derby.
  • Aug. 23-24 – Fall Derby.

Info: (509) 215-0202 or 722-4029.

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Photo: Labrador retriever, or a beaver?

April 18, 2014 7:33 a.m.

DOGS — It's not hunting season and there are no tennis balls around so…

Teri Pieper of Twisp has an endless source of entertainment in this Lab.  

Next:  The entire tree!

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Pheasants chicks available for raising, releasing

April 18, 2014 6 a.m.

WILDLIFE – The Inland Northwest Wildlife Council will be distributing pheasant chicks to people who have facilities to raise 25 or more birds for around six weeks before releasing them into the wild.

 The council provides the day-old birds in lots of 25 and charges a fee to cover costs: 

  • 40 cents a hen
  • $2.25 for roosters
  • $1.50 for half roosters, half hens.

Starter feed is available, 50 pounds for $20.

The first shipment of chicks from Little Canyon Shooting Preserve in Peck, Idaho, will be April 29 and continue every Tuesday until late June, said program coordinator Larry Carey.

They will be available for pickup at the council office, 6116 N. Market.

Chicks must be reserved in advance: 328-6429. 

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Not a hero: Rancher’s federal land grab all about greed, arrogance

April 17, 2014 1:06 p.m. - Updated: 3:17 p.m.

UPDATED 3:18 p.m. to properly attribute Taylor quote.

PUBLIC LANDS — Washington State Rep. Matt Shea has ridden out of his Spokane Valley district on his white horse to save us from the overpowering federal government as he stands in lock-step with a Nevada rancher who's stolen more than $1 million in grazing favors from public land.

Whom will Shea stand up for next? The guy who says he has a Constitutional right to rob the Post Office?

Shea says he was compelled to back Cliven Bundy as he joined Rep. Dave Taylor for a trip to the Bundy Ranch. As Taylor put it,“If we don’t stand up for our neighbors, there won’t be anybody left when they come for us.”

The confrontation stems around a Nevada rancher who doesn't recognize the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as the owner of the public land he wants to graze his cattle on. Bundy has declined to pay about $1 million in fees while he lets his stock run amock where law abiding ranchers don't.

Trouble is, the BLM isn't the only voice saying Bundy is breaking the law.  So have the courts, twice.  

The courts, at last check, are our nation's way of settling points of law.

BLM backed away from confiscating Bundy's cattle — seizing the stock was authorized by a judge — when supporters came in and posed the climate for a violent confrontation.

So where do we go from here?  

The public owns the land, not the rancher. If every man who fabricates a disagreement with the government decides to run his cattle — or cuts his trees, builds his roads, kills his game, nets his fish, or fires up his bulldozer — the way he sees fit, the American icon of public land will be lost.

That, Mr. Shea, is what's worth standing up for.   Not one man's greed and selfishness, but rather the rule of law and the overwhelming advantages of regulated public land.

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Extra day offered for lower Columbia spring chinook fishing

April 17, 2014 10:23 a.m.

FISHING — Anglers will have one more day - Saturday (April 19) - to fish for spring chinook salmon on the lower Columbia River prior to an updated assessment of the run size.

The chinook fishery will be open to boat and bank fishing from Buoy 10 upriver to Rooster Rock. Bank fishing will also be allowed from Rooster Rock upriver to the fishing boundary below Bonneville Dam.

Anglers may retain one hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily catch limit. Barbless hooks are required, and any salmon or steelhead not visibly marked as a hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin must be released.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon approved the one-day extension after a week in which anglers caught 6,500 upriver spring chinook, boosting the total catch for the season in the lower Columbia River to 7,880 upriver fish

One more day of fishing is expected to bring the catch levels up to 95 percent of the initial harvest guideline of 10,157 fish, said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“Catch levels tend to skyrocket at this time of the year,” Roler said. “As in years past, fishing started out slow this season, but you wouldn't know that by what we're seeing out there right now.”

Prior to the start of this year's fishing season, fishery managers estimated that approximately 227,000 upriver spring chinook salmon would return to the Columbia River this year.

Anglers may get additional opportunities to catch spring chinook salmon later this spring, depending on how that estimate compares to the updated forecast planned in the next few weeks, Roler said.

“If the fish return at or above expectations, we will look at providing additional days of fishing on the river later this spring,” he said.

The extended fishing season in the lower Columbia River does not affect the spring chinook season above Bonneville Dam, currently open through May 9 under regulations described on WDFW's website.

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Video: Early-season fly fishing on North Idaho streams

April 17, 2014 9:32 a.m.

FISHING — Sean Visintainer of Silver Bow Fly Shop in Spokane Valley has produced a series of informational fly fishing videos that take the mystery out of rigging up and presenting flies to trout in the pre-runoff shoulder season.

This one's titled: Fly Fishing NF Coeur d'Alene / St Joe River - Pre-Runoff Rigs / Flies.

Says Visintainer:

Most of the fishing before it warms up will be nymph or streamer rigs, but as spring progresses the dry fly fishing will pick up too. Both the NF Coeur d'Alene and St. Joe Rivers get good hatches of bwo's, March browns, gray drakes, and skwala stones. Even if the hatches are not intense it can still get fish up. 

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