Friday, May 29, 2015

Celebrate Idaho Free Fishing Day June 13

No fishing gear or experience? No problem! Saturday, June 13, is Idaho’s annual Free Fishing Day. Idaho Fish and Game invites residents, nonresidents, as well as veteran and novice anglers of all ages to celebrate the day by fishing anywhere in Idaho without a license. Even though a fishing license is not required for this special day, all other rules, such as limits and tackle restrictions, still remain in effect.

Make sure to grab a copy of the fishing regulations before you head out on the water. Free fishing day does include salmon fishing; anglers do not need a license or salmon permit, but they are still subject to all bag and possession limits.

Staff and volunteers will be available at seven locations around the region to help novice anglers learn the basics of fishing. Contests, activities and prizes will be awarded during these events. All of these locations will be freshly stocked with hungry hatchery rainbow trout. Look for an event near you and take a kid, friend or neighbor fishing. All events run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. 

Elk City - Karolyn's Pond

Grangeville - Wilkin's Pond

Headquarters - Pierce/Weippe - Deer Creek Reservoir

Kooskia - Fenn Pond, 5 miles from Lowell on Forest Service Road 223. 

Lewiston - Mann Lake

Lewiston- Kiwanis Park Pond/Levee Pond 

Moscow/Troy - Spring Valley Reservoir

Contact the Clearwater Regional office for more information (208) 799-5010. Load up the family and come join us for a fun-filled day on water!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day weekend on the Nez Perce–Clearwater National Forests

Snow-laden landscapes are giving way to green grass and wildflowers – a sure sign that spring has finally arrived. An early season getaway to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is the perfect way to celebrate the long Memorial Day Weekend. 

Campsites

Most campgrounds offer first-come, first-served site selection, although you can reserve campsites at a few campgrounds managed by the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Contact your local Forest Service office for a list of local campgrounds that accept reservations. 

To reserve a campsite, call Recreation.gov at 1­ (877) 444-6777, or visit: www.Recreation.gov. Reservations should be made at least four days in advance.

Visitors can camp at sites outside developed campgrounds called “dispersed sites.” However, campers who choose to stay in undeveloped sites should take extra care to protect natural resources, such as plant life. If you camp at a dispersed site, leave no trace of your stay. Use existing fire rings if available, and pack out your trash. 

All campgrounds on the Palouse Ranger District are now open with all standard campground amenities available. Laird Park, Little Boulder and Giant White Pine are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Elk Creek Campground, near the town of Elk River, features 23 sites with electrical hookups; a portion of the campground sites can be reserved through www.recreation.gov/ or by calling 1 (877) 444-6777.

There is no trash service at any of the four campgrounds on the Palouse District, so please take your refuse with you when you leave. 

You can reserve group picnic areas at Little Boulder and Laird Park Campgrounds, as well as the pavilion at Elk Creek Campground, by calling the Potlatch Ranger Station at (208) 875-1131.

On the North Fork Ranger District, Aquarius Campground is already up and running. Washington Creek and Noe Creek Campgrounds are set open on Friday, May 22, just in time to welcome holiday visitors. Two popular campgrounds will remain closed through Memorial Day weekend: The Kelly Forks Campground is scheduled to open Friday, June 5, and Hidden Creek Campground is expected to open June 12.

If you’re looking for a shady campsite on the shores of the Lochsa River, you’re in luck; all campgrounds on the Powell and Lochsa Ranger Districts, including Wilderness Gateway, Powell, Wendover and Whitehouse Campgrounds, will open by May 22. Lolo Campground and White Sands Campground opened in early May. Elk Summit Campground and Rocky Ridge Campground will most likely not be accessible until sometime mid to late June, when the snow melts outs. Jerry Johnson Campground will remain closed all summer, and Jerry Johnson Hot Springs is open for day use only from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Water systems have been turned on and tested at Wild Goose, Apgar, Wilderness Gateway, Wendover, Whitehouse, Powell, and White Sands Campgrounds. Campers will have to bring water if they plan to stay at other Lochsa River sites.

On the Moose Creek Ranger District, all of the campgrounds that flank the beautiful “Wild and Scenic” Selway River are open. Johnson Bar has potable water. O’Hara Campground has been open since May 8 and the water system is on. The RV dump station at Cedar Flats is open and available to campers. Visitors are welcome to fill water jugs at the Fenn Visitor Center. 

On the Salmon River Ranger District, all of the following campgrounds are $12 a night. Fee campgrounds located along the South Fork Clearwater River, including Castle Creek and South Fork Campground, are open and potable water is available. However, dumpsters will not be available until June 1. A camp host is on site. Fish Creek Campground, located seven miles south of Grangeville is open with potable water available. A camp host is on site. Spring Bar Campground, located along the Salmon River is open, potable water is available and camp host is planned to arrive on site before Memorial Weekend. Dumpsters won’t be available until July 1. 

The Red River Campground, located on the Red River Ranger District, is open. Water is on, but it is not potable. Part of the system is down due to a cracked valve, recreation staff plans to have it fixed before the weekend. No camp host available.

River and stream conditions

Boaters are encouraged to use caution and wear personal floatation devices and helmets while on the water. For the adventurous, there are several outfitters that provide whitewater adventures on the Lochsa, Selway and Salmon Rivers. Outfitter information can be found at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/ioglb. 

Roads and trails

For your safety and to prevent damage to the land, stay on roads and trails and avoid those that are too wet or muddy. Spring break-up can wreak havoc on roads.

Trails

On the Powell and Lochsa Ranger Districts, trails are starting to clear of snow to roughly 3500’ in elevation although, in the deep woods, snow can still be found at 5000’. Visitors hiking Forest trails over Memorial Day weekend should be aware that they might encounter downed trees, rocks, flooded trails, or other hazards.

Trail crews are just beginning to open trails on the Powell, Lochsa, and Moose Creek Ranger Districts. Selway River Trail #4 and Meadow Creek Trail #726, between the trailhead at Slims Camp and Meadow Creek Cabin, are open and are good destinations Memorial Day hikers and stock users.

Most low-elevation trails on the North Fork Ranger District are open for the first two to three miles.

Trail users should always to yield to stock. 

Off-highway vehicle users, note: ATVs and motorcycles driven on national forest roads and trails are subject to state of Idaho registration laws and requirements. Contact your local motor vehicle department or the state of Idaho Parks and Recreation website at: http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/ for a listing of registration sticker vendors and regulations. Also, please remember that all vehicles classed as UTVs (side-by-sides), regardless of weight or width, are not allowed on Forest trails. 

Roads

On the North Fork Ranger District, French Mountain Road 250, from Pierce to Kelly Forks and north, through Black Canyon, is open. Due to residual snow and plow berms, the road might be narrow in places, so drivers should proceed with care. The remainder of Road 250, Cedars Campground to Hoodoo Pass, remains blocked by snow. Road 255, Kelly Forks through Deception Saddle is open, but in rough shape. Toboggan Ridge Road 581, from its junction with Road 255 to Cayuse Landing, is in poor condition. The road is washed out in spots and it’s difficult to navigate; drivers should think twice and use extreme caution. 

Road 100 is open from Kamiah to Lolo Creek Campground. Due to severe slumping and a broken road surface, part of the road has closed at Eldorado Creek, near the junction with Road 500. Traffic will be detoured along Road 500, the Lolo Motorway, to Cedar Creek Road 520. From there, travelers will make their way west on Road 5132, which junctions with Road 100 near Nevada Creek. 

Road 100 from Pierce is open to the Bradford Bridge, but motorists will come across a six-mile-long detour prior to reaching the bridge. The detour route is narrow and covered with debris in places, so drivers should proceed with care. Despite the short distance, travel time may be as long as 45 minutes. The route is not recommended for RVs or tow trailers. 

Road 103, Musselshell Meadows, is open for the first two miles from its junction with Road 100.

Elk Meadows Road 373 and Granite Pass Road 595, near Lolo Pass on the Powell Ranger District, are starting to melt out, but neither road will open by Memorial Day.

Most of the roads on the Salmon River and Red River Ranger Districts are open for a few miles before snow impedes travel. Memorial Day drivers should contact their local Forest office for updated road information. Conditions can change rapidly. 

The Magruder Road Corridor (Road 468) between Elk City and Darby, Montana, remains closed by snow.

Visitor centers

There are a handful of places you can stop for information, firewood permits, mushroom permits and maps while visiting the Nez Perce–Clearwater National Forests. All Forest Service offices will close Monday, May 25th in observance of Memorial Day. 

The historic Fenn Ranger Station, located just a few short miles from US Highway 12 near Lowell, is on the National Register for Historic Places. A self-guided walking tour highlights this beautifully landscaped, working historic ranger station built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Fenn Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday. The Fenn Visitor Center will be issuing commercial use mushroom permits.

The Lolo Pass Visitor Center on Highway 12 at the Idaho-Montana state line will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday of Memorial Day week. Hours of operation will be from 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Beginning June 1, the Visitor Center will be open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) each day. The Visitor Center has personal use mushroom permits available, but will not be selling commercial use mushroom permits.

Forty-eight miles east of Kooskia, along Highway 12, stop by the Lochsa Historical Ranger Station. Beginning May 22, the station will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. Forest Service volunteers host the site and are happy to answer your questions about what life was like on remote ranger stations in days gone by.

For Information

For more road and trail information and updates, call the Supervisor’s Office in Kamiah at (208) 935-2513, the Grangeville Office at (208) 983-1950 or the North Fork Ranger District Office at (208) 476-8267. You’re also invited to check online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Emphasize fun when fishing with kids

For quality time with your family, there’s nothing quite like spending a day fishing together. It’s a great way to instill a love for the outdoors in your kids, inexpensive and fun. 

With many families heading out fishing, the Idaho Fish and Game reminds adults there are a number of things to keep in mind when taking youngsters to make it a happy outing for everyone. 

“Be positive, make it fun and remember it’s not just your fishing trip – it’s theirs too,” said Adare Evans, Wildlife Educator for Fish and Game in Boise. “Consider it as an investment - do it right and payback time will come years later when they take you fishing.” 

To help ensure your youngster’s fishing trips are not their last, Fish and Game provides the following suggestions:

The younger the child, the shorter the attention span. If the fish aren’t biting, don’t keep them chained to their fishing poles or held hostage in a boat. Allow some breaks for rock skipping, swimming, enjoying some beach time, catching frogs – whatever keeps them happy and lets them enjoy the outdoors.

Be patient. Accept that they may not keep quiet and they probably will get a few tangles. Keeping the outing short (under an hour for beginners) and ending on a cheerful note before anyone gets crabby will set you on course for cultivating a lifelong fishing buddy.

Keep it Simple - Short poles and closed-face reels are good choices. A small tackle box with a few small hooks, a few 1-inch bobbers and sinkers is all you need to get started. 

If bait is used, encourage them to bait their own hooks. Let them practice with plastic worms. Eventually, they’ll get used to the idea of doing it themselves.

Pack a cooler with sandwiches, some cookies and water. Remember to take garbage bags to pack out your trash, and encourage the kids to pick up too. 

Essentials - Be sure to take sunscreen, a few Band-Aids and a fishing license if required. 

Quantity not Quality - Your kids will have a lot more fun reeling in several easy to catch stocked trout rather than waiting for a 5-pound lunker to bite. Finding a well-stocked pond or lake is essential to hooking youngsters to fishing. 

Fish and Game’s “Take Me Fishing" trailers are making appearances at well-stocked fishing holes across the state. The trailers are full of basic fishing equipment that can be checked out for free on a first-come, first-served basis. Fish and Game staff will also be available to answer questions and help those new to the sport. 

For a list of scheduled events in your area, visit: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=80.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fire safety burn permits required starting May 10

Starting May 10, Idahoans must obtain a fire safety burn permit from the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) before starting certain controlled burn activities. The permits can be obtained online at http://www.burnpermits.idaho.gov or in person at IDL offices statewide.

The fire safety burn permit is free of charge and good for 10 days after it is issued. Permits issued through the self-service web site are available seven days a week, issued immediately, and valid immediately.

Idaho law (38-115) requires any person living outside city limits anywhere in Idaho who plans to burn anything - including crop residue burning and excluding recreational campfires - during closed fire season to obtain a fire safety burn permit. Closed fire season begins May 10 and extends through Oct. 20 every year.

Residents also are encouraged to contact their local city or rural fire department before burning because some incorporated cities and towns may require their own burn permit. IDL will not issue fire safety burn permits within districts where local burn bans are in effect. Additionally, residents should contact the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for burn restriction information for air quality by calling (800) 633-6247 or visiting http://deq.idaho.gov/air-quality.aspx. 

If there are other burning restrictions in effect or additional or alternate permits required, the fire safety burn permit web site will provide instructions for Idahoans on how to contact those entities. The web application was updated in April to make it easier for the public to use. Improvements to the web site include new instructions on how to use an interactive map to find, place or move a burn site location, and new ways for burners to add contact information. The web site also is now compatible with all commonly used web browsers and can print burn permits on a full page.

The fire safety burn permit system helps inform fire managers where burning activities are occurring, reducing the number of false runs to fires and saving firefighting resources for instances in which they are truly needed. It also enables fire managers to respond more quickly to fires that escape, potentially reducing the liability of the burner if their fire escapes.

Contact information for IDL offices where fire safety burn permits can be obtained in person is available at http://www.idl.idaho.gov/areas/index.html.

Friday, May 1, 2015

LoggerXross is May 9 in Orofino

Pro Endurocross racer Colton Haaker is pictured at the 2014 Rekluse Orofino LoggerXross. This year’s event is Saturday, May 9. Photo by Steve Shannon Photography



The exciting Rekluse Orofino LoggerXross is scheduled for Saturday, May 9, at the Orofino fairgrounds arena at Orofino City Park.

Practice/qualifying races start at noon, and everyone is welcome to come watch the action all day long.

The main show begins with opening ceremonies at 6 p.m., with pro practice immediately following. Tickets are $15. Children age five and under are admitted free of charge.

Highlights

Dave Brocious will be announcing at this year’s LoggerXross. Brocious has announced the Geico AMA Endurocross Series, WORCS (World Offroad Championship Series), and KOM’s (King of Motos Extreme Offroad race), just to name a few.


“We are very excited to have him on board this year,” said Jim Engle, a key organizer with LoggerXross.

Marie Hui from Vancouver, BC, will be attending to sing the National Anthem. Hue has performed at Seattle Seahawk games, and is the current Canadian anthem singer for the Canadian Canucks and Vancouver Whitecaps soccer teams.

She has also made some amazing parodies for the Seahawks and Canucks, and is currently singing with two Seattle/Vancouver area bands, LeftCoast and Grove & Tonic. You can check her out at mariehui.com.


As in past years, many national Endurocross racers are expected, such as: pro men Cody Webb, Colton Haaker, Max Gerston, Bobby Prochnau, Geoff Aaron; and pro women Chantelle Bykerk, Rachel Gutish, Melissa Harten, Nicole Bradford, and Shelby Turner.

A number of other AMA Endurocross regulars are also expected, including Stephen Foord, Josh Adams, Wyatt Hart, and Triston Hart, as well as many local pro/experts such as Kyle Joiner, Josh Buell, and more. 

The pro men’s purse will be $7,500, and the pro women’s purse will be $1,000.

“We have some amazing sponsors once again this year that have provided some awesome prizes for amateur racers, as well as overall support for our event,” said Engle. These include: Rekluse as the Title Sponsor, plus Fly Racing, Western Powersports, Works Connection, Kenda Tires, Tucker Rocky, Bike Master, Avista, LCCU, Les Schwab Tires, Fury Concrete, Cascade Falls Construction, and Buds Powersports.

This year the National Guard Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Cadets from Pierce will help set up, in the process fulfilling some of their community help project time. They will also be special guests at the race on Saturday.

“We have some new obstacles that will definitely challenge our racers, and entertain the spectators for sure!” said Engle.

Orofino Chamber of Commerce’s beer garden will be on hand, and vendors serving up some great food, including The Dog House and Shiz Nits.

Buds PowerSports will have Polaris RZRs, and CanAM Mavericks and four wheelers on display. There will also be Husqvarna, and maybe even KTM and Beta motorcycles on display from dealers around the northwest.

Race information can be found on the LoggerXross Facebook page, or by calling Jim Engle at 208-816-6253.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chinook seasons open Saturday

The spring Chinook salmon fishing season will open April 25, on parts of the Clearwater, Lochsa, Salmon and Snake rivers.

The Chinook salmon return to Idaho this year is forecasted to be similar to the returns observed in 2014. As of April 15, over 13,500 Chinook have crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, while 70 fish have crossed Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River. 

Fish and Game tailored the 2015 fisheries proposals to meet hatchery broodstock needs, focus fishing efforts in areas where hatchery fish are most abundant, and still allow fishing in river reaches that anglers have grown accustomed to fishing in recent years.

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 12 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.

These areas will be open seven days a week. The season limit will be 20 adult Chinook salmon for seasons prior to Sept. 1. 

Only Chinook salmon with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. Only adult Chinook salmon must be recorded on the salmon permit. An adult Chinook is any adipose fin-clipped Chinook 24 or more inches from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Chinook salmon less than 24 inches (jacks) count against the daily limit but need not be recorded on the salmon permit. 

An angler must cease fishing for Chinook salmon once they have retained their daily, possession, or season limit of adult Chinook salmon or their overall (fish of any size) daily or possession limit of Chinook salmon, whichever comes first. 

Other rules and special restrictions for the Chinook salmon fishery are in the 2015 spring Chinook salmon brochure available at Fish and Game offices, license vendors, and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=110. 

The Commission will consider Chinook salmon fisheries on the South Fork Salmon and upper Salmon Rivers at its May 20 meeting in Lewiston. 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.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lolo Trail Muzzleloader Club Spring Fling is May 2

By Dusti Howell 

The Lolo Trail Muzzleloader Club would like to invite shooters, spectators and traders to our black powder, patched and round ball firearms Annual Spring Fling shooting event on Saturday, May 2.

The event is held at Wolverton’s Cabin, 2852 Wells Bench Road, Orofino, and the start time is 10 a.m. The fee to participate in the shoot is $7 per person.

Prizes for the top three Mountain Men, Mountain Women, and Young Trappers will be awarded. The main events are a rifle and pistol trail, hawk and knife throw, and rifle paper shoot. Extra points are awarded for dressing in 1800 attire, but doing so is not mandatory.

Our other event is our “running deer.” This is a moving deer target and the fee is $1 per round. The winner gets half of the pot! 

After the shoot there will be a potluck, with the club providing barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs. Please bring a side dish, beverage, and your chairs. We will present the winners and draw for the door prize. 

We will also be selling drawing tickets at six for $5 dollars or $1 each for a Thompson Center .54 caliber muzzleloader rifle (pictured). The winner’s name will be drawn July 19, at our second shooting event of the year, our 39th Annual Rendezvous. This event is July 17-19 at Reggear’s Tree Farm, Loseth Road, Orofino.

LTML can’t wait to see all of you there!

For any questions regarding both events you can view our flyers on “Orofino Chamber of Commerce” website and/or e-mail lolotrailmuzzleloaderclub@yahoo.com and/or call Dusti Howell at (208) 476-9471, Guy Walker at (208) 435-4814, or Larry Kaufman at (208) 827-0018.