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Cast master Rajeff, films featured at Sandpoint fly fishing festival

April 23, 2014 2:58 p.m. - Updated: 2:59 p.m.

FISHING — Fly casting champion Tim Rajeff is coming to North Idaho this weekend and he’s only part of the celebrity action during the two-day Sandpoint Fly Fishing Film Festival.

The event features the eight films edited into the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) to be shown at the Panida Theater on Friday night followed by the four films in the Internatonal Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) on Saturday night.

Doors open both nights at 6 followed by the films at 7. Tickets are $12 in advance at Big R or Eichardt’s in Sandpoint or $15 at the door.

“We have tons of prizes, including guided steelheading trips and fishing trips on the Kootenai, Missouri and Bitterroot rivers,” said Calvin Fuller of Big R Fly Shop in Ponderay.

“It was a lot of fun to have both film festivals last year, so we’re doing it again.”

On Saturday, Rajeff, an expert affiliated with fly rod and line companies, will help anglers with casting demos 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at a 40-foot by 100-foot casting pool in the Big R parking lot.

A casting competition for distance and accuracy with prizes is set for all levels of casters at 2 p.m.

Info: 208-610-4151, panhandletu.org.

Read on for more details about Tim Rajeff:

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Mar Don Resort lures anglers with special deal

April 23, 2014 1:01 p.m.

FISHING — With the spotlight this week shining on the lowland trout fishing season that opens Saturday, lakes that are open to fishing year-round are temporarily in the shadows.

MarDon Resort on Potholes Reservoir has a plan to capture some attention to its fine facilities and area fisheries that are already open and producing action.  Here's the scoop:

The Central Washington Fish Advisory Committee has purchased 800 rainbow trout 9”-11” and 256 Triploid Trout 9”-11” from Trout Lodge to be stocked in Corrall Lake before the April 26-27 weekend. 

MarDon Resort will be offering camping specials for a tent or RV site, stay Friday get Saturday 1/2 off.  Must request at time of booking.  You must have a valid fishing license and either the WDFW Car Pass that comes with a seasonal fishing license or a Discover Pass to drive to this lake, which is just across the street from MarDon Resort.

This lake is one of potholes “seep lakes” that opened to the public for fishing on March 1.

Info: (509) 346-2651. 


Volunteers signing up to “unveil” the Centennial Trail

April 23, 2014 12:03 p.m.

VOLUNTEER — More than 300 volunteers are signed up for the annual Unveil the Trail clean-up Friday, Saturday and Sunday (April 25-27)  to prepare the 37.5-mile Centennial Trail for it's busiest season

Friends of the Centennial Trail is working with 31 local businesses and non-profits to activate their ranks for picking up litter, pulling weeds, pruning shrubs and giving the Trail a clean sweep from the Washington/Idaho state line to Nine Mile Falls. 

The work is done in conjunction with Earth Day

“Spring cleaning work by Unveil the Trail volunteers gets the Centennial Trail ready for the 2.4 million users who will enjoy this incredible pathway this year,” said Loreen McFaul, the friends group executive director. 

Trail rules, etiquette and safety information is posted on the 19 trailhead posters spanning the Trail, on printed maps sold by the Friends and on their website

“The four biggest areas of concern by Trail users are unleashed dogs, dog deposits left on/ near the Trail, bicyclists traveling faster than the 15 mph speed limit and parked vehicle break-ins at trailheads,” McFaul said.   

Users encountering potentially dangerous issues are encouraged to take photos, call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 and Washington State Parks at (509) 465-5064.



Oregon rancher kills 500-pound black bear

April 23, 2014 10:57 a.m. - Updated: 11:35 a.m.

WILDLIFE — A huge black bear by Oregon standards has been killed by a rancher legally defending the family's property.

Hunters are scratching their heads wondering how they missed seeing one of the biggest bruins experts have seen in the Northwest.

From the Associated Press:

Ranchers in south-central Oregon have legally killed a nearly 500-pound black bear after one of their heifers was killed by a bear and the giant animal was found in the family’s cattle herd.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Craig Foster says Marie Leehmann went beyond legal requirements by obtaining a kill permit before a family member shot the bear.

The Herald and News reports that field biologists say the male bear weighed 490 pounds, stood 6-foot-5 and was 13 to 15 years old. Foster said the largest bear he had previously seen weighed 345 pounds.

The kill permit was issued after it was determined that one of the Leehmanns’ yearling heifers had been killed by a bear. Two days later, on April 4, Leehmann was checking the cows when a bear ran out of the herd. Her son, Ryon, shot the bear within a quarter-mile of their home.

Foster says ranchers are legally allowed to kill bears that attack cattle.


It’s the buzz: fishing season opens Saturday

April 23, 2014 8:27 a.m. - Updated: 8:36 a.m.

FISHING — I just got off the air with KXLY radio host Bud Namek to discus Saturday's opening of Washington's lowland trout lake fishing season — and the special advance coverage we'll be publishing Thursday in S-R Outdoors.

I’ve been covering opening day for more than three decades and every year I come across family groups that have been assembling at the same lakes to camp and fish for generations.  

There's a lot of competition for a family's recreation time nowadays, but fishing is still a good value and time well-spent.

 It's a lifetime sport.


BLM seeks artist in residence for Idaho wilderness

April 23, 2014 6 a.m.

WILDERNESS — Here's a wild opportunity for professional artists looking for immersion in a canyonland wilderness landscape:

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Idaho will host two week-long Artists-in-Residence, one for the Bruneau-Jarbidge Rivers Wilderness and the other for the Owyhee River Wilderness.

Southwestern Idaho features some unique and dramatic landscapes, including winding rivers, deep canyons and vast areas of sagebrush steppe habitat, all of which can provide inspiration to an artist with an eye for color, shape and shadow. 

Applications for the positions are due in May.

Read on for the details from BLM:

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Wyoming mule deer log longest migration

April 22, 2014 12:56 p.m. - Updated: 12:56 p.m.

WILDLIFE WATCHING — A Wyoming herd of about 500 mule deer travels 50 miles from the Red Desert to the southern end of the Wind River Range, where it joins about 5,000 more deer to walk another 100 miles. It is the longest recorded mule deer migration in the world, according to the Wyoming Migration Initiative.

The research, presented today at the University of Wyoming in Laramie is more evidence to support the importance of migration corridors for the survival of our wildlife, a cause for future-wise wildlife and sportsmen's groups for years. 

“Migration corridors and habitats where big game animals rest and forage during migration are critical pieces in a complex habitat puzzle that is key to the health of populations of mule deer and other big game animals,” said Ed Arnett, director of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Center for Responsible Energy Development. “If we do not safeguard all the pieces of that puzzle, including important habitats associated with migration, big game populations likely will decline and impact both our outdoor traditions and our hunting-based Western economy.”

The University of Wyoming's study and others like it will help point out the highest priority areas to target with conservation dollars for easements, habitat enhancement and other management  projects to best conserve these important areas for migration, he said.

  • The TRCP has proposed that the BLM should incorporate explicit language on big game migration corridors and associated habitats into its planning handbook to improve landscape planning and balance the needs of big game with energy development and other potential impacts

Two-day-old bald eagle chicks active in nest

April 22, 2014 10:32 a.m. - Updated: 10:49 a.m.

WILDLIFE WATCHING — “I love the little wings and the open mouth,” says Spokane Valley pastor and photographer Craig Goodwin, back from a North Idaho birding adventure. “The eaglets are two days old.”

Goodwin says he's found great bird photo situations including great blue herons and waterfowl in the past few days.

“There is some pretty amazing birding out there right now.”

A Web cam trained on a bald eagles' nest has become an Internet sensation in recent years, giving millions of viewers an intimate glimpse of doting parents raising their young. T

he Decorah Eagle Project in Iowa is one of the best eagle Web cams out there. See them bring in squirrels, fish — whatever — to feed their young.  On Sunday, the world saw one of the parents shield the fragile young during a lightning storm.   Fascinating.  

Currently the eagles are raising three chicks, with the third-hatched noticeably smaller than the other two, but gaining strength daily.  Check them out.


IFG says Pend Oreille kokanee limits could be raised

April 22, 2014 9:39 a.m.

FISHING — They were cautious at first, allowing a daily limit of just six kokanee last year for the first kokanee fishing season since 1999 at Lake Pend Oreille.

But Idaho Fish and Game Department officials say surveys continue to show the fishery has recovered from its near collapse, with  2 or 3 million adult land-locked sockeyes estimated to be swimming in the lake this spring.

The department is getting ready to ask anglers if they'd back biologists in requesting that the daily limit be raised to 15. If so, they'll propose the increase to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission for a decision that could be made in mid-May.

“The first question anglers are going to ask is whether the fishery is recovered enough to be ready for it,” said Jim Fredericks, Panhandle fisheries manager. “Our answer is definitely yes, or we wouldn't even suggest it.”

Fredericks invites anglers who have questions or comments about the possible rule change to contact him at (208) 769-1414 or send an e-mail to jim.fredericks@idfg.idaho.gov, before May 10th

Sign of the times:  The annual K&K Spring Derby, for the first time since the 1990s, has added a Kokanee Division to its fishing contest.   The event opens this weekend and runs through May 5. The Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club's Pin Auction fundraising event is Friday.

 Prizes run up to $2,500 for the largest rainbow and $1,500 for the top mackinaw.

But yes, kokanee are back.  The K&K name came from the old days of Kamloops & Kokanee Days.  Whether you think it should be G & K (G for Gerrard-strain rainbow) or whatever, it's great to see the return of the K for Kokanee.


100 volunteers give spring cleanup to Spokane River

April 22, 2014 8:28 a.m.

CONSERVATION — More that 100 volunteers turned out for the annual Spokane Riverkeeper Spring River Clean on April 12, with a big boost from students at Gonzaga University.  

“It was our biggest and best clean up by far, we had a record number of partners on board to make it so, and above all we left a part of the Spokane River MUCH cleaner than we found it,” said Riverkeeper Bart Mihailovich.

See a full report from the Riverkeeper.

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