BLM offers reminders for Saturday’s National Fishing and Hunting Day

Bureau of Land Management officials invite Idaho residents to visit public lands in honor of National Fishing and Hunting Day on Saturday.

“(More than) 99 percent of BLM-managed lands are open to hunting and fishing, and BLM coordinates with local communities and our valued partners to actively expand access to these opportunities,” said BLM Idaho Recreation Lead Robin Fehlau. “The BLM supports hunting and fishing as meaningful forms of conservation.”

Fishing and hunting on public lands in Idaho are managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Recreationists are advised to review regulations at www.idfg.idaho.gov.

The bureau offered reminders to those participating in hunting and fishing:

Hunters and anglers on public lands must have the required state licenses.

Unless specifically prohibited, public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management are open to hunting. Hunters should check with their local office, www.blm.gov/office/idaho-state-office, in the region they plan to visit to check on closures, restrictions and safety tips.

Private land is open to hunting only with permission from the landowner.

Idaho is home to more than 300 protected nongame birds. Hunters are reminded that it is unlawful to shoot or harass threatened, endangered or protected nongame birds, www.idfg.idaho.gov/species/idapa-protection/protected-nongame.

BLM-managed lands are open for fishing unless specifically closed for resource protection purposes.

Anyone 14 years and older must have a valid fishing license to fish in Idaho. License information is available at www.idfg.idaho.gov/licenses.

WSFW plans controlled burns

SPOKANE — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will perform controlled burns on its public lands this fall to reduce the risk of wildfire; improve habitat for animals such as deer, elk and bighorn sheep; and improve public safety.

The agency manages 1 million acres of public lands and operates the state’s only prescribed fire management teams. The teams include five full-time foresters and 18 burn-team members. Their work with small, controlled burns this past spring and summer helped to prevent larger wildfires.

“By burning off accumulations of vegetation and logging debris, we can reduce the risk of high-intensity wildfires that destroy wildlife habitat,” said prescribed fire Manager Matt Eberlein. “It’s not a question of whether we’ll have fires on these lands, but rather when, and the degree to which we can reduce the damage they do.”

Officials plan to use prescribed fire to treat 10,000 acres by 2021. Areas tapped for treatment include about 400 acres on the Grouse Flats Wildlife Area about 40 miles southwest of Clarkston.

Joint effort restores access to Rhoda Creek trail system

KAMIAH — A partnership between the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Idaho Conservation Corps and local Backcountry Horsemen has re-established access on the Rhoda Creek trail system, located in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.

According to a U.S. Forest Service news release, the trails had long been used by horseback riders and hikers when traveling between the Lochsa and Selway River drainages. Unfortunately, lack of consistent trail maintenance and many fires in the area had made the route nearly impossible to find, and no longer accessible. The Forest Service did not have the capacity to support the extensive effort to reopen the trail.

The Backcountry Horsemen took the lead for organizing the project, while the Forest Service provided oversight. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation used trail grant funds to hire an Idaho Conservation Corps crew to do the trail work and to support the Backcountry Horsemen volunteers, who packed supplies.

Together, the groups located, cleared and repaired lost sections of trail in the Upper Rhoda Creek drainage, opening the route from Rhoda Creek into the Two Lakes area and reconnecting the Lochsa to the Selway trail system.

The Idaho Conservation Corps crew was supported by a federal grant administered by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.

New SCAT machine should be ready for April river runs

RIGGINS — The U.S. Forest Service is installing a new SCAT machine here to process human waste from the portable toilets of river runners.

The cleaning station will be located near the Hells Canyon National Recreation Office, at 1339 U.S. Highway 95 in Riggins. It will be housed in a 15-foot by 20-foot building that will be connected to city water, city sewer and commercial power utilities. Effluent from the SCAT machine will be pretreated in an onsite septic tank before being discharged into the Riggins sewer system.

Green Water Energy, based in Clarkston, has started construction and plans to continue working through the end of October. River users will have access to the cleaning station starting in April. It will close in October of each year for winterization.

Riggins has been without a SCAT machine for the past two years when one located at a local gas station was closed.

“Salmon River users deserve credit for properly disposing of their waste and keeping the river clean for everyone,” said Jeff Shinn, district ranger for the Salmon River Ranger District on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. “This task is certainly not the highlight of the river experience, but it couldn’t be more important. Our new SCAT machine will make it easier to do the right thing.”

Bird-watchers plan Saturday outing to Mann Lake

MANN LAKE — The Canyon Birders will conduct a short bird-watching walk Saturday along the banks of Mann Lake southeast of Lewiston.

Those who would like to participate can meet at 8 a.m. at the boat ramp parking area. The group expects to see migrating shorebirds and waterfowl that stop at the lake seasonally.

Water levels have gone down, and there is exposed mud on the shore around most of the lake, so appropriate footwear is advised.

Binoculars and spotting scopes will be available.

Spey Clave celebration is Saturday near Peck

PECK — The Red Shed Fly Shop will hold its 15th annual Spey Clave starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Lenore Rest Area along U.S. Highway 12 here.

The event is a celebration of spey casting, a form of fly fishing with long, two-handed rods that are commonly used to catch steelhead. It will feature many of the top spey casters in the world, as well as representatives from companies that manufacture and sell spey casting equipment. Burgers, hot dogs and cookies will be served, and door prizes will be handed out.

The proceedings will focus on this year’s dismal return of B-run steelhead and the related closure of steelhead fishing on the Clearwater River that starts Sunday. Guest speakers will address the gathering at 1:30 p.m. to talk about steelhead conservation. They include retired Idaho Fish and Game biologist Steve Pettit, Sam Mace of the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and economist Tony Jones.

A spey casting clinic will be held at 3 p.m. The cost is $20 per person; all proceeds will be donated to www.rettsyndrome.org.

More information is available at www.redshedflyshop.com/CLAVE.html.

Public comment sought on proposed bag limit changes

OLYMPIA — Earlier this year, the Washington Legislature passed a law which directed the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to “adopt rules to liberalize bag limits for bass, walleye and channel catfish in all anadromous waters of the state in order to reduce the predation risk to salmon smolts.”

According to a news release from the agency, officials are asking for public input on a proposal to eliminate harvest restrictions for bass, walleye and channel catfish in certain waters statewide, as well as on proposed updates to freshwater game fish rules.

The direction was passed in part to implement task force recommendations meant to increase abundance of chinook salmon, benefiting the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population. It would affect lakes, streams and other waters throughout Washington.

A meeting on the proposal will be held from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at the agency’s Spokane office at 2315 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.

Those wishing to review and comment on the proposals can visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/season-setting/. The public can comment on the proposed rules at the meetings or online through Oct. 17.

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