Briefly

Freshly caught kokanee are ready for the fillet knife. Dworshak Reservoir is loaded with the landlocked salmon this year but the average size of fish is down.

Good year predicted for kokanee, bass at Dworshak

OROFINO — Dworshak Reservoir is loaded with kokanee which should produce decent blueback fishing this spring and summer and could lead to great fishing for fat smallmouth bass next summer and beyond.

According to an Idaho Fish and Game news release, the number of the landlocked salmon is so high that the size of individual fish is expected to be modest as they all compete for limited resources. However, when kokanee numbers are high, smallmouth bass often benefit and can reach sizes that challenge the state record.

Fisheries managers expect there will be 700,000 adult kokanee this year as long as the fish achieve average survival. The annual population of adult fish averages about 400,000, and last year the agency estimated a population of about 560,000.

Last month, adult kokanee in the reservoir averaged about 9.5 inches in length. Because the population is so large and there is a big crop of juveniles behind them, fisheries managers say the adults may fill out some but likely won’t grow much longer.

It’s a different story for bass. Kokanee serve as the primary prey for smallmouth bass in Dworshak.

“The more abundant the kokanee, the bigger the bass will get. This year should be as good as it gets for growing bass,” said fisheries biologist Sean Wilson. “While the fruits of this growth tend to lag a year, bass fishing should start getting better this year, and only continue to improve as we move into next year.”

Stay safe while on grizzly turf

BOISE — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reminding people who live or recreate in places with grizzly bears to take steps to avoid conflicts with the big bruins.

Most grizzly bear conflicts can be avoided by practicing basic bear safety guidelines, according to a news release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to the news release, the most common human-bear conflicts involve unsecured attractants, such as garbage and human food. The agencies recommend the following guidelines:

  • Never approach bears; always remain at least 100 yards away.
  • Practice ethical wildlife viewing by remaining a safe distance and never disturbing natural behaviors.
  • Never feed, leave food for or make food accessible to bears
  • Store food, garbage, barbecue grills and other attractants in locked hard-sided vehicles or bear-resistant storage boxes.
  • Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and make sure it is accessible.
  • Hike or ski in groups of three or more, stay on maintained trails and make noise.
  • Avoid hiking at dusk, dawn or at night.
  • Do not run if you encounter a bear.
  • Instead of traditional bird feeders, set up birdhouses or birdbaths, plant native flowers or set up hanging flower baskets for hummingbirds.
  • Keep chickens and other small livestock properly secured using electric fencing or keep them inside a closed shed with a door.
  • Report bear sightings, encounters and conflicts immediately to your state or tribal wildlife management agency.

Film fest highlights wildlife science, management

MOSCOW — Films highlighting wildlife science and management will be featured this month during a two-day, online film festival organized by the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources.

The annual event moved online last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to be delivered over the internet in what amounts to a large-scale webinar.

The first set of films will be shown starting at 6 p.m. next Friday, and the second set will air a week later, at 6 p.m. April 23. Both showings will be followed by live question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers.

The festival is free for college students and children. A $10 donation is suggested by other viewers. More information is available at uidaho.edu/fwff.

Enhanced-carry weapons training is Saturday

LAPWAI — The Lewis Clark Wildlife Club is hosting an enhanced-carry weapons training Saturday at its shooting range near here.

The training will occupy the six-bench portion of the range in the afternoon and the classroom all day. The rest of the range will be open for public shooting.

Prescribed fires planned near Blues, Grande Ronde

SPOKANE — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is preparing for spring prescribed fires at many of its wildlife areas in the eastern half of the state.

The fires, which are weather dependent and could begin this month, help reduce the risk of wildfires and improve habitat for species like deer, elk and bighorn sheep.

The agency plans to treat about 400 acres at its Grouse Flats Wildlife Area and 387 acres at the 4-O Wildlife Area. Both areas are near the Grande Ronde River and the Blue Mountains.

Entomology epert to speak at Clearwater Fly Casters meeting

MOSCOW — Entomology expert Michael Parrella will deliver his presentation “Fishing the artificial fly like a living insect” at a Clearwater Fly Casters meeting Wednesday.

The meeting that will be conducted via Zoom starts at 6:30 p.m., and Parrella will speak at 7. He is dean of the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and a professor of entomology. The presentation will include videos of trout eating below the surface.

Those who would like to participate can call (509) 878-1654 for more information.

Helicopter logging planned in Blacktail area

HARPSTER— Timber officials on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are advising the public that helicopter logging operations will start in the Blacktail area near Lightning Creek near here within the next two weeks.

Those traveling forest roads 415 and 244 are asked to use caution. Loggers will use CB channel 4 to communicate. The logging is part of the Blacktail Fuels Reduction project.

WDFW extends comment period on nonnative fish

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is extending the public comment period on the development of a policy to guide management of nonnative game fish species.

The comment period, previously scheduled to run through April 5, will now close at the end of the day May 5.

“This is an important policy, and extending the comment period will help ensure that people have an opportunity to provide feedback on this draft,” said Steve Caromile, the agency’s Inland Fish Program manager.

Nonnative game fish includes species such as bass, walleye, catfish, crappie and some trout. Many are popular options for anglers but can also affect local ecosystems and native fish populations.The public can provide comment on the draft policy on the department’s website at bit.ly/3rFmoQM. A recorded presentation on the draft policy can be viewed at bit.ly/39MqxLU.