Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer Chinook fishing to close on most rivers

Most of Idaho’s summer Chinook salmon fishing seasons are coming to a close Sunday, Aug. 2. 

Idaho Fish and Game will close fishing for spring/summer Chinook salmon on the mainstem Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater, South Fork Clearwater, Lochsa, Snake, and a section of the upper Salmon River from the Copper Mine to a posted boundary upstream of the mouth of Valley Creek near Stanley at the end of fishing hours on Aug. 2 (9 p.m. Pacific Time and 10 p.m. Mountain Time). 

Harvest of jack Chinook salmon (those under 24 inches) will continue on the upper Salmon River from the posted boundary upstream of Valley Creek upstream to the posted boundary about 100 yards downstream of the weir at Sawtooth Hatchery. This section will close to salmon fishing at 10 p.m. Mountain Time on Sunday, Aug. 9. 

The Chinook salmon fishing season continues on the Boise River through Sept. 30. The daily limit is two salmon, regardless of size. Fishing is permitted 24 hours a day and barbless hooks are not required.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Orofino police seek public’s help in ATV theft cases

Orofino Police Department (OPD) is asking for anyone with information about a recent ATV theft and another attempted ATV theft, both of which occurred on Riverside, to contact them at 208-476-5551.

“These types of thefts/attempted thefts are highly irregular in our community,” said Orofino Police Chief Jeff Wilson in a press release.

The first theft occurred June 25 at a residence on 118th Street. The ATV, described as a white 2009 Suzuki King Quad 750cc, was reportedly stolen from an open garage area.

The individual who reported the theft indicated that the keys had been left with the ATV at the time of the theft. At this time the ATV has not yet been recovered, and the case remains active.

The second theft occurred July 14 at a residence near 111th Street. The reporting party in this case indicated that the ATV’s ignition had been punched, but it appeared the suspect or suspects were unable to get the machine started, so it was not removed from the area.
Anyone with information about either incident may stop by OPD’s office at 217 First Street, or call 476-5551.

“We are also asking the public to immediately report any suspicious late night activity in our neighborhoods,” said Wilson.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Wildfire danger is expected to continue

Tuesday’s Stage II Fire Restrictions are planned to address long-term danger with regard to fire risk, long-term weather expectations, fire danger and fire behavior. “This decision to go to Stage II was not made lightly, nor will it be rescinded without careful consideration,” stated Bob Lippincott, Forest Fire Management Officer for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

The purpose of fire restrictions is to reduce the risk of human-caused fires during unusually high fire danger and/or burning conditions. Fire Managers and Agency Administrators across Northern Idaho worked together to initiate and implement the Stage II Restrictions. 

When this group agrees that the restrictions for our area can be removed, the entire area will rescind restrictions as a whole. 

This fire season is different from recent fire seasons because fire dangers are at a record high. The extreme heat and dryness has not been experienced in 20 years.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, precipitation for the months of April through June across the northern half of Idaho was between 25 and 50 percent of normal.

The threat of wildfire danger is expected to continue throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall. The Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for July and August lists all of North Idaho in ‘Above Normal’ potential indicating a higher than usual likelihood that wildland fires will occur and/or become significant events.

To view the Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook map, please visit http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/predictive/outlooks/monthly_seasonal_outlook.pdf

Between Friday, July 10 and Saturday, July 11, the forest recorded 2,527 lightning occurrences, at least 84 of which reached the ground. 

Amounts of recorded rainfall with these storms varied tremendously across the reporting area, from trace amounts to almost 2 inches over the last 48 hours. 

This moisture has not significantly reduced the long-term danger with regard to fire risk, long-term weather expectations, and fire danger/behavior. 

Despite the rainfall, lightning associated with recent storm events resulted in several reported fires on the Forest with additional fires reported across the Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Zone. As fuels dry out it is likely that fires could continue to be discovered.

For additional information, please call your local Land Management Agency.

Details on the Stage II fire restrictions implemented Tuesday can be found elsewhere in this issue.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Additional Stage 1 Fire Restrictions take effect in Northern Idaho and Central Idaho

With the threat of wildfire danger increasing rapidly throughout many parts of northern and central Idaho, local land management agencies will implement additional Stage 1 Fire Restrictions inclusive of all land in the Coeur d’Alene and Grangeville Dispatch areas and Zone 4 of the Payette Dispatch area beginning at 11:59 p.m. on July 7.

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions will remain in effect until further notice. These restrictions are being implemented by agencies managing or providing wildland fire protection to public lands in the area, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Clearwater Potlatch Timber Protective Association (CPTPA), the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), the Nez Perce Tribe, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Fire restrictions are intended to decrease the chance of any preventable fires in the designated areas. 

Stage I restrictions will be in effect in the following areas: (For a detailed map showing all Idaho Fire Restriction Areas, please visit: http://idahofireinfo.blogspot.com/p/fire-restrictions.html).

Coeur d’Alene Fire Restrictions Area, All Zones: All lands located in Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai, Shoshone, Benewah, and Latah Counties.

Grangeville Fire Restrictions Area, Zone 1 and 2: All of Nez Perce, Clearwater, and Lewis Counties. Those portions of Idaho County that are north of the Salmon River (east of Riggins), west of Highway 95 (south of Riggins) and are not federal lands designated as wilderness. That portion of Adams County that lies within the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

Payette Fire Restrictions Area, Zone 4 only (visit the website listed above for more details).

All state, private, and BLM managed land (except that located within National Forest System boundaries) south of the main Salmon River to Smokey Boulder road. 

Under the Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, the following acts are prohibited on the restricted state and federally managed or protected lands, roads and trails:

Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire except within a designated recreation site, or on their own land, and only within an owner-provided structure.

Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or designated recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

The following are exemptions to the Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:

Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.

Persons using fire fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels. Such devices, including propane campfires, may be used only in an area cleared of flammable material.

Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.

Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

All land within a city boundary is exempted.

Other exemptions unique to each agency.

With the extreme temperatures the region is experiencing, fire managers are asking the public to be extra cautious when spending time in the outdoors. Idahoans are also reminded that fireworks are prohibited on forest and range lands in Idaho during closed fire season (May 10 through October 20).

Please visit http://idahofireinfo.blogspot.com for current information regarding fire restrictions or contact the local land management office.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Reflections from my trail - Musky heritage

By Charlie Pottenger

The object of these articles has been to reflect on memories which might interest readers; however, I’ve found that the tales relight dreams associated with memories and sometimes even spur actions. This is one of those.

Some time ago I wrote about Musky fishing with my dad back in the sixties. That story caused me to go through heaps of accumulated stuff and find the old Musky tackle Dad and I used for hundreds of hours casting lakes in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania for one of the greatest game fish in America. I spent hundreds of hours together with a great dad, doing what he loved and I came to love, too.

Dad would often encourage me by saying that the Musky is the fish of 10,000 casts, inferring that one must make at least that many casts to catch one. After writing a short story of one of our escapades I realized I hadn’t ever offered my sons an opportunity to experience the joys of Musky fishing—hours of boredom punctuated by a moment of adrenalin pumping savagery when the great fish strikes.

This year, I challenged my sons to pick a date and we would meet at Pineview Reservoir in northwestern Utah to seek a mighty Musky. The youngest, Andy, couldn’t consider the trip as he has just launched a new business, and he and his wife are expecting their first child in August. My other son, Matt, lives in Utah and agreed to meet me there on June 18.

We had sought an opportunity to rent a fishing boat there, but none were available and the rentable boats, ski-type, cost $180 per day. Resourceful Matt found a 1950’s vintage steel boat, motor, and trailer for sale for $350. He bought it and overhauled the carburetor, and we were set for four days of adventure. (Matt and Charlie Pottenger - holding Jerry the dachshund - before they set out to Musky fish.)

Matt and I decided to christen the new boat “Andy,” so that we could always say that on our first Musky fishing experience Matt, Charlie, Jerry (the dachshund) and “Andy” all participated!

The first afternoon we cast huge lures for about four hours, saw no fish action, sweltered in 95 degree heat, and learned that Jerry just loved barking at and chasing those hooky lures. Taking Jerry anywhere is always an adventure in and of itself.

The next morning we went earlier and arrived at the lake about 8 a.m. As we launched “Andy,” we met a young fisherwoman holding a boat while her partner went for their truck. I asked if they had been fishing and if they had any luck. She said they had caught two Muskies!

Knowing how hard it is to bag a Musky, I boldly asked if they had taken pictures, as Musky fishing in Utah is catch and release only. She said she had caught a 41 incher and he had gotten a little 34 incher, of which she had a picture. The bigger fish had been hooked badly and they had trouble unhooking it.

I saw the “little ones” picture and asked if they could point us to some “hot spots.” They pointed us to both locations where they had caught their fish and were really helpful in getting to know where these giants hang out in Pineview.

That day we had about 10 muskies follow the lures like torpedoes in the crystal clear water all the way to the boat, but got no actual strikes. Musky anglers consider a follow a major event, and a strike is spectacular and a catch is Heaven!

We caught none, mostly because first you have to have a strike. However we discovered Jerry would commit suicide in his desire to grab one of the lures. He would launch himself out into the lake trying to grab a hook, and his lemon-colored life vest with a handle proved valuable over and over! (Jerry is pictured, left, ready to jump!)

The last day we continued to pound the water and I actually had two good strikes but was unable to hook the cooperating Muskies. I began to tire, as I am no longer a kid and my hand was sore after four days of endless casting.

Matt, however, wasn’t ready to quit because, I’d had strikes, while he had not. So he told me it was about time I learned to cast left-handed, which I tried. After about another agonizing hour, Matt made a long cast right up near the shore and reeled in about a foot of line, starting his underwater lure spinning.

I thought someone had dropped a refrigerator near his lure as a giant Musky snatched the lure and nearly tore the rod from his hands. The fish rushed right, stripping off 15 or 20 yards, and then the line went slack. Matt said something like, “Shucks, Dad, he got away!” I told him to reel fast, and sure enough the mighty fish was rushing the boat.

As the line tightened, the fish again wheeled away and stripped line again, ending in a mighty leap about four feet above the water, and splashed back, starting another powerful run. Then the line went permanently slack and his trophy was gone!

We had lived my dream even though Matt hadn’t caught he huge Musky. Matt had tightened his drag during the fight and the 30 pound test line snapped.

The epilogue is that earlier that last day we had fished where the couple said they had caught the 41 inch Musky, and found one freshly deceased on a beach. We looked it over and took pictures. It might have been their fish, as it measured 41 inches! (Matt Pottenger is pictured with the deceased Musky.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Idaho Department of Lands discusses what kind of fire season is expected for summer 2015

Information from the Idaho Department of Lands

It's official: summer is here and weather and fuel conditions indicate 2015 will be an active fire season. The very hot temperatures and dry weather expected across Idaho this week will rapidly dry out both fine and heavy fuels, increasing fire potential. Fire managers are asking people to be extra careful in the outdoors so they do not accidentally start a fire. 

Most of the 74 fires that State of Idaho firefighters have put out so far this year have been caused by people, not lightning. Fires resulting from equipment, recreational shooting, and controlled burns that escaped make up most of the human-caused fires on lands protected by the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) and two timber protective associations.

As the Independence Day holiday approaches, Idahoans also are reminded that fireworks are prohibited on forest and range lands in Idaho during closed fire season (May 10 through October 20). 

Fire prevention and safety tips are available on the new web site, http://idahofireinfo.blogspot.com/.

Fire forecast

National fire weather forecasters told the Land Board last week they expect a near normal fire season in southern Idaho and an above normal fire season for northern Idaho, where the State of Idaho has much of the responsibility for fighting wildfire. 

Low snowpack and low soil moisture contributed to conditions in May and June that fire managers do not usually see until July. Tree stumps are burning three to four feet into the ground and bushes that usually stay green and absorb the fire to slow it down are actually burning and contributing to the spread of fire. The low subsoil moisture probably is the result of a cold snap last November prior to snowfall that did not allow winter rain to penetrate the soil, so fires likely will burn deep into the soil and will be difficult to mop up without water.

This year, Idaho forests are drought-stressed and more prone to insect and disease damage. Fine fuels such as grasses are more prevalent than would be expected in a typical drought situation thanks to well timed precipitation this year. A healthy snowpack usually will compact fine fuel vegetation from the previous season, but the limited snowpack this year left abundant standing fuels from last season to add to this growing season. 

Factors that affect the severity of a fire season are global weather patterns, temperature, precipitation (amount and timing), snowpack, drought, and vegetation development. 

Ten IDL forest protective districts and two timber protective associations together provide protection on more than 6.2 million acres of mostly State owned and privately owned timberlands in Idaho. Most of the lands we protect are located north of Grangeville. The other two fire agencies are the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Local fire districts and rangeland fire protection associations assist IDL, USFS, and BLM in our firefighting efforts. 

The goal is to keep 94 percent of fires that burn on State-protected lands to 10 acres or less in size.

Friday, June 19, 2015

From this Chair

By Cloann McNall

The tooth fairy still exists. At least the sweet tooth fairy is still around.

I received a call Monday morning from my long-time friend Judy Stewart Overberg, saying she had left an early birthday present on my front step. But it needs refrigerated right away she said.

Each year Judy brings me a fresh homemade coconut cake for my birthday. It’s the best ever, believe me. 

Judy and I have known each other since the 1970’s when she moved here from Mississippi. Our friendship has continued through the years even though she moved from Orofino in the 1980’s.

The first time I saw Judy was at the front counter of the Clearwater Tribune.

She and her husband Ka-role Overberg divide their time now between Clarkston and Arizona. 

Sunday the Tribune family said goodbye to a special acquaintance, Jeanette Gorman. Her memorial service was held at the Orofino City Park where a large crowd of family members and friends gathered to remember her. 

She died April 21 of pancreatic cancer at age 65.

She was the community relations coordinator for Clearwater Valley Hospital in Orofino and St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood for the past 19 years.

During these years Jeanette became well-known by the news media, in the medical community and a host of other people whose lives she touched.

Her husband, Dave King and sons, Alex and Quinn were among those speaking at the service.

At the close of the service Kathy Hedberg, a reporter for the Lewiston Tribune surprised those in attendance by playing the guitar and singing two of Jeanette’s favorite songs.

We will miss you, Jeanette, and yes, we will keep you in our hearts.

Editor’s note: The latter words are from her requested song “Keep Me in Your Heart for a While” by Warren Zevan.