Another robust spring chinook run is heading back to the Yakima River. Fishery managers are forecasting a return of about 10,060 spring...

Share story

Another robust spring chinook run is heading back to the Yakima River.

Fishery managers are forecasting a return of about 10,060 spring chinook to the Yakima, and of that about 48 percent of the total run will be hatchery fish.

This will be the fifth spring chinook fishery on the Yakima in nearly 50 years. Before a brief fishery in 2000, it had been closed for 40 years. Other years it was open were 2001, 2002 and 2004.

“The whole Horn Rapids area open for hatchery spring chinook from I-82 bridge to the Benton City Bridge will be a pretty good fishery,” said John Easterbrooks, a state Fish and Wildlife fish program manager in Yakima.

Fishing is open through May 31 for hatchery-marked spring chinook only on the Lower Yakima from the I-182 Bridge in Richland up to the SR-224 Bridge at Benton City; and from the I-82 Bridge at Union Gap up to 3,500 feet downstream of Roza Dam (“closed water” boundary markers).

The river between Benton City and Prosser will not be open for spring chinook fishing, but access to a portion of the newly opened lower river has greatly improved over the years.

The Duportail Access Area at Highway 240 in Richland has a primitive boat launch and bank fishing; the Twin Bridges off Snively Road is open for bank fishing; the Hyde Road has a primitive boat launch and bank fishing access, there is bank fishing next to market off Van Giesen Road; and Snively Road has a primitive boat launch and bank fishing.

There is also a boat launch and bank access at Horn Rapids Park, and there is a concrete launch and bank fishing in Benton City. Prosser has a canoe or raft launch and bank fishing, plus two other spots nearby accessible for bank fishing.

As for run timing the past few years the spring chinook return has been a few weeks later than normal.

“Typically the peak fishing has been the first two weeks of May,” Easterbrooks said. “The sweet spot is right around Mother’s Day weekend, but the wild card this year is flow conditions because of the all the snow in the mountains. If it gets hot we could see the river get blown out.”

Another bonus is the bank fishery in the Columbia River for hatchery-marked spring chinook at Ringold is open now through June 15.

The Snake River is also open for hatchery-marked spring chinook fishing through June 15 from 400 feet below the Ice Harbor Dam, and the area between Texas Rapids and about one mile upstream of Little Goose Dam.

The daily limit in the Snake and Yakima are two hatchery-marked chinook (those with a missing adipose fin) longer than 12 inches. Anglers should check the regulation pamphlet for other specific rules and closures.

Popular snow hut destroyed by fire

The Mount Tahoma Trails Association’s Snow Bowl Hut was destroyed by fire on March 21.

The fire in the group’s south district near Ashland, about 7 miles west of Mount Rainier National Park, was seen by Copper Creek hut users that evening, and a flyover and visit by ski patrollers confirmed that the hut was destroyed. The cause has not yet been determined.

The group’s 50 miles of groomed ski trail and snow hut system has more than 1,300 overnight guests during the winter season, and offers outdoor winter recreation to thousands of day-users every year.

The group unanimously agreed to support plans to rebuild the snow hut, and will solicit funds, services, supplies and volunteers needed for the rebuild effort. Details: www.skimtta.com.

Notes

• It may be May, but there is still plenty of snow on the hills of the Alpental Ski Area at the Summit at Snoqualmie. As part of the Cinco de Mayo celebration, Alpental will be offering $5 all-day lift tickets Monday, which is the final day of skiing operation, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. There will also be live music, and food and drink specials. Summit Central’s last day of operation is today from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and is the latest opening in over 30 years. Details: www.summitatsnoqualmie.com.

• The Coastal Conservation Sea-Tac Chapter auction and banquet is 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Federal Way Community Center, 876 South 333rd St. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Cost is $55. Details: 206-920-1446 or www.ccapnw.org.

• The Puget Sound Anglers of Lake Washington meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday at the

Community Center at Mercer View, 8236 S.E. 24th St., on Mercer Island. Roger Urbaniak will discuss shellfishing for crab, shrimp, clams, oysters, geoducks and crayfish in local waters. Details: 425-823-0704.

• The Washington Butterfly Association is hosting a free presentation 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41st St. in Seattle. Details: 206-364-4935 or www.naba.org/Chapters/nabaws.

• The Orvis Store, 911 Bellevue Way N.E., in Bellevue is hosting fly-fishing activities from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday with demonstrations by Steve Rohrbach, Roger Stephens, Preston Singletary, George LeBlanc and John Olson; and on May 11, casting analysis for intermediate to advanced casters with instructor Don Simonson. Details: 425-452-9138.

Royal Robbins, the “Godfather of Rock Climbing,” will host a discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Seattle REI Store to raise awareness for the Continental Divide Trail Alliance. Robbins will share his stories of incredible climbs in Washington, and how they impacted his career as a climber. Details: www.rei.com/seattle.

• The Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, east of Colville in Stevens County, will host a 2.5-mile bird walk Saturday along the ridge overlooking McDowell Lake, with an optional two-mile walk to some beaver ponds. Details: 509-684-8384.

• Fly-angler and author John Gierach is hosting a presentation on his new book titled Fool’s Paradise 7 p.m. May 14 at Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E. in Lake Forest Park, and 6 p.m. May 15 at Elliott Bay Books, 101 So. Main St. in Seattle. Gierach is the author of 16 books about fly-fishing. Details: 206-624-6600 (Elliott Bay Books) and 206-366-3333 (Third Place Books).

• The U.S. Bureau of Land Management staff in Spokane is hosting a bird-watching field trip May 17 at the BLM office, 1103 North Fancher Road in Spokane. Groups will then car-pool to several locations in Spokane and Lincoln counties to geta close-up view of Brewer’s and vesper sparrows, sage thrashers, rails, waterfowl and more. Preregister for this trip. Details: 509-536-1281 or email nwilliam@blm.gov.

• The Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest is May 16-18, and includes professionally guided field trips for all ages and abilities. Other activities include programs on geology, wildflowers and the arts. Details: www.leavenworthspringbirdfest.com.

• The Backyard Wildlife Festival is 9 a.m. May 10 at the Tukwila Community Center, 12424 42nd Ave. South. The event focuses on activities and educational opportunities to attract and support wildlife through gardening and landscaping.

There will be craft vendors and education workshops from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; the procession of the species costume parade is noon; the certified wildlife garden tour is 1 p.m.-5 p.m.; and the kids zone by Puget Sound Energy is 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

Guest speaker is Russell Link, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist and author of “Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest” and “Living with Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.” Details: www.backyardwildlifefair.org/index.htm.

• The free Youth Outdoor Adventure Expo is 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 17 at the Benton County Fairgrounds, and is co-sponsored by state Fish and Wildlife and the Go Play Outside Alliance of Washington.

Instruction and demonstrations by more than 100 outdoor experts and educators for children and adults include bird identification, bird-of-prey demonstrations, bat box construction, boating, casting, catch-and-release fishing, compass reading, fish identification, fish scale reading, fish tracking, firearm safety, fly tying, outdoor survival, poaching control and wildlife enforcement tools, and shrub-steppe wildlife studies. Details: 509-628-1166.

• Come check out a fish that has outlived the prehistoric dinosaurs 1 p.m.-4 p.m. May 31-June 1 at the free Sturgeon Festival at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way in Vancouver.

There will be environmental activities for all ages including interactive children learning stations, live animal presentations, fish anatomy lessons, water safety demonstrations, puppet shows, story tellers, and other events related to the Columbia River ecosystem. Details: 360-906-6741 or 360-487-7111.

• This month is Bike to Work Month and is sponsored by the Cascade Bicycle Club to promote cycling as a healthy, economical, practical and eco-friendly form of transportation.

The Starbucks Bike to Work Day is 6 a.m.-9 a.m. May 16, where bicycle commuters can stop at one of 42 commute stations located throughout King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties to receive a free water bottle, maps, snacks, commuting information, and have bikes checked by bike shop sponsors. From 7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m. the Starbucks Bike to Work Day Rally will be held at Seattle City Hall with music, speakers, and free Starbucks coffee.

Bike to School Day is also on May 16 where elementary school students will record trips on a paper tracking sheet, and high school students will participate in an online commute challenge.

During the entire month will be the Group Health Commute Challenge where teams of riders will compete to see who can bike the most. The ride is open to anyone who commits to ride five times or more during the month. Prizes will be awarded to winning teams and individuals.

For details on all these events, go to www.cbcef.org/btw/cc.html or www.cascade.org or call 206-522-3222.

• The Washington Sea Grant is offering a Marine Electrical Wiring Workshop for commercial fishermen and recreational boaters 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. May 14-15 at the Fishermen’s Terminal Nordby Building in Seattle.

Topics covered include American Boat and Yacht Council standards for safest wiring, wire size selection, circuit breaker and fuse ratings, cable routing and labeling, shore power circuits, battery charging circuits, corrosion protection circuits, engine instrument systems and troubleshooting. Cost is $80, and preregistration is advised. Details: 206-543-1225.

• The North Cascades National Park Visitor Center, near the town of Newhalem, is open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The center features exhibits, theater presentations, and is staffed by park rangers and volunteers. The center has access to the scenic Sterling Munro Overlook and a network of easy hiking trails such as the 1/3 mile Rock Shelter Trail and the 1.8 mile River Loop Trail.

The Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount is currently open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and opens daily beginning May 18. The center offers trip planning information and is the main location for backcountry users to obtain permits required for all overnight stays. Details: www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/hiking.htm”>www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/hiking.htm. Reservations for campgrounds can be made at www.recreation.gov.

• Outdoor Emporium, 1701 4th Ave. South in Seattle is having a sale on a wide variety of fishing and hunting gear May 21-25. Details: 206-624-6550.

• The Bellevue/Issaquah Chapter of Trout Unlimited meeting is 7 p.m. May 14 at the Issaquah Brew House, 35 Sunset Way in Issaquah. The group will discuss a kokanee fry trap in progress on Lewis Creek. Dan Lemaich from Creekside Angling will discuss catching smallmouth bass on a fly. Details: www.tu-bi.org.

• The Washington Steelhead Coalition is hosting the Steelhead Summit Alliance May 31 in Seattle. The summit is a gathering of concerned groups, anglers and citizens to discuss the latest issues facing steelhead. Details: 206-669-6263 or email heritagesea@aol.com.

• The Sno-King Coastal Conservation Association is hosting a fundraising banquet 5:30 p.m. May 20 at the Everett Events Center. Cost is $75 per person and includes membership. Details: http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii311/ryleyf/CCA_brochure.jpg.

The group also holds monthly meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month 7 p.m. at Three Rivers Marine and Tackle in Woodinville. Details: www.ccapnw.org.

• The Magnuson Park boat launch at 7400 Sand Point Way N.E. in Seattle is currently closed for renovation and will reopen May 15.

Work includes replacing the existing boat ramps with new underwater planks, rebuilds the piers, and adds an extension float on the northern pier for improved ADA access.

Alternative ramps to use for larger boats are the Atlantic City Boat Ramp on the south end of Lake Washington and smaller boats could use Sunnyside Boat Ramp on the ship canal. Details: www.seattle.gov/parks/magnuson/boating.htm.

• The Mount Rainier National Park Education Program is offering two middle-school teacher workshops this summer.

The Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard — Mount Rainier workshop is July 22-25, and is designed for middle school teachers who teach about volcanoes, volcanic process, product, and hazards. Teachers will receive copies of the curriculum and additional resources to use with their students, and earn three quarter credits or 31-35 clock hours.

The Curriculum Review Workshop for Mount Rainier-Mount Fuji Sister Mountain is Aug. 7-8. Teachers can provide feedback on the draft materials developed to date for this international interdisciplinary middle school curriculum project. Teachers will receive copies of the draft materials to pilot test with your students for further feedback, and earn one quarter credit or 12 clock hours.

Advanced registration is required, and the deadline is July 1. Details: 360-569-6039 or email anne_doherty@nps.gov or www.nps.gov/mora/forteachers/professionaldevelopment.htm.

• Due to a lack of funds Mount Rainier National Park could be faced with selling land to developers inside the park’s borders.

Mount Rainier National Park is one of 55 national parks with vital land now on the public market. Mount Rainier itself has 800 acres within its boundaries for sale at an estimated cost of $4.5-million.

To try and stop development inside park boundaries and enable the Park Service to purchase these so-called “in-holdings” from willing sellers, the National Parks Conservation Association is encouraging Congress to provide the Park Service with at least $100 million this year from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Plus, additional funding in the years leading up to the Park Service’s centennial in 2016. Details: www.npca.org/landforsale.

• The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will hold a series of public meetings to gather comments on the Winter Recreation strategic plan.

Meeting dates are: April 21, 7 p.m., at the Seattle REI Store, 222 Yale Avenue; April 23, 7 p.m., at Fairhaven Middle School, 110 Park Ridge Road in Bellingham; and April 24, 7 9 p.m., at the Clark Public Utilities Electric Center, 1200 Fort Vancouver Way in Vancouver. To view a draft of the plan go to: www.parks.wa.gov/winter/strategy.asp. Details: 360-586-6600.

• The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group sponsors a local environmental fair May 7 at Belfair State Park that hosts about 800 to 900 students, chaperones and teachers, and are looking for volunteers to serve in a variety of supporting roles. Details: 360-275-3575 or email chris@hcseg.org.

• The North Cascades National Park Visitor Center near Newhalem (State Route 20) has reopened, and will remain open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through May 4. Starting May 5, the Visitor Center will be open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Visitor Center was closed last month due to a break in the main water line that shut down all its water resources, and repairs were further delayed by heavy snowfall. The visitor center offers educational exhibits and theater programs, and day hikers can explore the network of snow-covered short trails. Scenic drivers are invited to head east from the center to view 14 miles of the park’s mountain scenery to where State Route 20 remains closed for the winter at milepost 134. Details: 360-854-7200 or www.nps.gov/noca.

• The Summit for Salmon climb of Mount Rainier is Aug. 22-25, and Save Our Wild Salmon is looking for participants that raises funds to help protect and restore healthy, sustainable wild salmon in the Columbia and Snake River basins. Experienced guides from Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. will lead the group. Details: 206-286-4455 or www.wildsalmon.org.

• The National Alpine Ski Camp is offering a summer snow camp for children and young adults of all ages at Mount Hood in Oregon.

The camp offers six- and ten-day sessions in the summer for children of all ages. There is also a masters program for those over age 20. Race training is the foundation for the camps, with an emphasis on free skiing and free skiing drills. Designated for intermediate and advanced skiers, campers must have basic ski skills to attend.

Ski training is conducted in the morning, followed by windsurfing, rock climbing, rafting, swimming, hiking, mountain biking and go-cart racing in the afternoon. Details: 800-453-6272 or www.skicamp.com.

• The Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall holds numerous outdoors events, including a monthly “Tracking Club,” that meets in Sultan on the third Saturday of each month now through May from 9 a.m. to noon.

The program is open to naturalists, hunters and people curious about learning to identify, follow and understand stories written in tracks left by animals on the Skykomish River shoreline. Details: 425-788-1301 or www.wildernessawareness.org.

• The Washington Trails Association offers statewide trip reports and trail conditions. Details: www.wta.org.

• The Northwest Fly Anglers offers various public classes through the year. The public also is invited to club meetings on the third Thursday of each month, at the Haller Lake Community Center, 12579 Densmore Ave N., in North Seattle. Details: 206-684-7524.

• The Emerald Sea Dive Club offers year-round activities including the big buddy program and weekly and monthly dives. The club meets on the first Wednesday of every month, 7-9 p.m. at Alfy’s Pizza, 4820 196th S.W. in Lynnwood. Details: 425-775-2410 or www.emeraldseadiveclub.org.

• The Seattle Audubon Society offers field trips and classes every month. Details: 206-523-4483 or www.seattleaudubon.org.

• Northend Bassmasters is accepting new members who want to learn more about bass fishing. The group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Crystal Creek Cafe, 22620 Bothell-Everett Highway (Canyon Park) in Bothell. Details: 206-789-4259 or e-mail Gary Millard at glmillard@comcast.net.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com