July 10, 2008

John Day River Parks Reopen

By The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash.

Jul. 10--LePage and Phlillippi parks along the lower John Day River have reopened after being closed due to nearby wild fires.

Fire and law enforcement personnel evacuated the parks on Thursday and closed Bigelow Canyon.

LePage Park is at exit 114 off Interstate 84, about five miles east of Rufus, Ore.

It has a boat ramp, 22 paved camping sites, tent camping on a lawn, a swimming beach, tables and a shower.

Phillippi Park is boat-access only about three miles up the John Day River on the eastern shore.

Camping is allowed on an eight-acre irrigated lawn. There are restrooms, showers and cooking grills.

Pikeminnow catches -- Two months into the northern pikeminnow reward program The Dalles Boat Basin is the No. 1 registration station in terms of total catch.

This year's program began on May 5 and ends Sept. 28. Anglers have turned in 13,615 pikeminnows at The Dalles, more than 2,000 ahead of No. 2 station Boyer Park.

Boyer Park is on the lower Snake River near Lower Granite Dam.

The highest catch per angler is 8.3 pikeminnow at Boyer Park and 6.2 at The Dalles Boat Basin and Giles French Park at John Day Dam.

The program pays a $4 reward for the first 100 pikeminnows, $5 for fish Nos. 101 through 400 and $8 for each pikeminnow beyond 400.

Pikeminnows are efficient predators of young salmon and steelhead moving down the the Snake and Columbia rivers. The bounty program is compensation, partially, for the increased predation caused by the reservoir system on the Columbia and Snake.

Catch averages at the local registration stations include 3.3 at Rainier, 5.1 at Kalama, 5.2 at M. James Gleason Boat Ramp (Portland), 2.9 at Chinook Landing (Troutdale), 2.8 at Port of Camas-Washougal, 5.8 at Cascade Locks and 5.1 at Bingen.

For the season through Sunday, there have been 11,355 total trips and 57,568 pikeminnows harvested.

New huckleberry rules -- Commercial buyers and sellers of huckleberries must register their sales under a new state law in Washington.

Under the legislation, anyone selling or attempting to sell raw or unprocessed huckleberries in any amount must acquire a specialized forest products permit.

Permit forms may be obtained from the sheriff's office of the county where the huckleberries are harvested, or from the U.S. Forest Service if picked on national forests.

Pemit information includes the buyers and sellers contact information, amount harvested and location of harvesting. Permission of the landowner is required before harvesting.

Commercial huckleberry buyers must record information from sellers including the permit holder's name, amount of huckleberries purchased and license plate number of the vehicle transporting the huckleberries. The information must be recorded on the bill of sale, which must be retained for at least one year.

The records must be made available to law enforcement officers, colleges and universities.

Law officers may take any huckleberries being sold illegally. Violations of the law are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

For more details, visit the Gifford Pinchot National Forest online site at www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/recreation.

Odd catch -- A 40-pound striped bass was caught by a commercial fisherman in the Columbia River near Bridal Veil last week.

State officials confirmed the lunker was a striped bass.

Although very rare, striped bass once in a great while wander in the Columbia River and provide for a surprise catch.

Buildings going down -- The U.S. Forest Service is removing several abandoned structures this week in the Wyeth Bench and Major Creek areas of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

The sites will be returned to their natural condition once the structures have been removed.


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Copyright (c) 2008, The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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