More good salmon/steelhead news

I like to keep abreast with what's happening on the coast because it's an indicator of what's in store for us. Idaho just sent the salmon/steelhead class of 2008 to sea, which we will get back as adults over the next few years. The conditions those young fish encounter when they reach the Pacific is critical to their survival and our future salmon and steelhead runs.

Early indications look good.

According to Mike Stahlberg at the Register Guard in Eugene, Ore. there's a bumper crop of "half-pounder" steelhead in the Rogue River in southern Oregon.

Scouting for deer

I'm heading into the hills this weekend to scout some new deer hunting country. I know lots of places to hunt, but I like to explore new areas. To be honest, I am not all that good at scouting for deer. I once spent a whole weekend scouting an area and only saw a few does, but then went back to the same place during hunting season and got a buck. It just looked like good deer country to me.

Grab your gloves - Boise River Sweep is Sept. 13

Trash is as common along the Boise River as poison ivy.

It always pops up, year after year, from pop and beer cans to plastic bags. Plastic shopping bags are the scourge of the earth. Why people can't break the habit of using plastic bags and just take reuseable cloth bags whenever they go shopping is a mystery. It's not that difficult.

You see plastic bags blown in trees along the river, clinging to rocks and branches under water and blowing down the highway. But that's a whole other subject about the trash and the outdoors.

Get free Spey casting instruction this month

Like the late, great TV salesman Tom Peterson used to say "Free is a very hard price to beat."

Idaho Angler's staff, including certified Spey casting instructor Rick Williams, will host free casting instruction on the Boise River from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. each Wednesday evening in September.

Meet at Ann Morrison Park near the kids’ playground and learn casts such as single Spey, snap T, double Spey, and how to effectively cast a Skagit system.

Does anyone remember?

The recent cool snap got me wondering about how the weather has changed over the years in southwest Idaho.

I remember the late summer and fall weather pattern being a lot different 30 or so years ago. Maybe my memory has gone sour but here's what I remember, gauging it from outdoor experiences.

You could bank on a cool snap hitting the second or third week in August. I remember one Main Salmon float trip where instead of buying more beer at Mackay Bar, we were buying hot chocolate. Rain hit on that river trip and it was wetsuit city.

Cool temps make great biking weather

I got reacqainted with my mountain bike over the weekend. It's been sitting in hibernation during the 90-degree heat. Now with cooler weather, the lure of the Foothills is too great. I hit a few trails over the weekend, and it felt great to ride again.

The Foothills aren't the only place that offer great riding. The mountains are awesome this time of year. The mornings are cold and the afternoons sunny and warm. Occasional rainstorms keep the dust down, and the most of the summertime traffic has cleared so the trails have fewer people on them.

Technology and hunting

Hunting season's under way and Roger and I always get into these discussions on fair chase and technology.

He blogged about it a few days ago.

Is it fair to use a full-blown elk decoy for elk hunting? Well, duck hunters use decoys.

I've gone back to using my double-barrelled shotgun for bird hunting and duck hunting. Sometimes it's frustrating because you don't have that third shot. It's even more frustrating when your hunting partner has a semi-automatic shotgun. But one advantage is that I can get off two shots pretty quickly.

Weekend pick - Hunting? Fishing? Boating? Camping? Mountain biking?

The choice is wide open this weekend and the opening of grouse and dove seasons Monday even complicates it more.

But an announcement by Brundage Mountain near McCall caught my attention.

Brundage Mountain Resort is heading into its last weekend of summer lift operations with extended hours for Labor Day. You can take the lift to the top of the mountain and mountain bike or hike the resort's trails. You can also just go to the top of the mountain and hang out. The views are incredible.

Fishing for kids should improve in September

The kids are back in school and sometimes it's not as easy to bust out of town and do some fishing.

I've gotten a lot of questions this summer about the best places to take kids fishing.

Idaho Fish and Game is stocking Boise and Nampa ponds in September and they are usually great spots for the kids. Some of them have docks for easier fishing.

Parkcenter Pond will get 1,000 trout while Quinn's Pond will get 600. Hatchery workers will put 600 fish in Riverside Pond and 1,000 trout in Veterans' Pond. These are all in Boise.

What's your take on fair chase?

Every year I have a Jekyll and Hyde moment when I start thinking about what constitutes fair chase. I wrote about it in my column in the annual Hunting Guide coming out on Thursday.

I don't expect all people to agree with me. It would be a boring world if they did, but that topic leaves me more divided than any other.

What's legal and illegal is simple, what's fair is much harder to define. The debate for me usually centers around big game hunting.

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