I was at American Falls Reservoir this last week in April 2014. The reservoir is almost full. Although, I didn't get a chance to fish, I did observe many boats fishing along the shore and bank anglers down towards the dam. They must be catching a few rainbow trout.
Magic Valley Blog
The number of Chinook salmon passing Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River took a jump this last week in April. We know a number of these fish are destined for Idaho because they carry PIT tags, individual numbered radio tags, that were inplanted into the fish as juveniles on their downstream migration. Travel to Idaho is dependent on flow conditions, but you can expect these fish to arrive in Idaho within 30 - 45 days.
A "crack" team of anglers fished Lucky Peak Reservoir on Friday April 25, 2014. Fishing from boats and using a variety of gear, they were able to average about 1 kokanee per hour fished. Size ranged from 12 to 16".
Most used down-riggers and fished in roughly 20' of water. Best reported success was near the upper end of the reservoir and around Spring Shores Marina.
The latest indicators, as of the last week in April 2014, show a projected return of Chinook salmon to Rapid River fish hatchery of somewhere between 11,000 and 17,000 adults. Passive Induced Transponder (PIT) tags detectors at Bonneville Dam continue to show strong numbers of salmon passing through the ladder with embedded tags that were placed in the fish before they left Rapid River Hatchery on their migration to the ocean.
Fish currently passing over the dams should arrive in Idaho within the next 30 - 45 days, depending on flow conditions at the Columbia and Snake River dams.
Schedule your time-off and break-out your salmon fishing gear!
Here's some information that sportsmen interested in C.J. Strike Dam should know. The bridge below the dam is going to be closed for rennovations through July 31, 2014. Please consider alternate routes.
C.J. Strike Dam is a popular location for fishing and this closed bridge is near several popular Fish and Game access points. This location is along the Snake River upstream from Grandview, Idaho.
The wooden bridge near CJ Strike Dam. Photo from Flickr, Don Burr by CC Attribution
I found out on my 12th birthday this year I had drawn a youth turkey hunt. On Thursday, April 10th, after I got out of school, my dad and I drove to the South Hills to look for Toms. For the next couple of hours we searched. We did not hear anything, but we saw one Hen. I encouraged my dad to keep driving and looking. He called from his diaphragm and still no sound. We kept on driving and there was this tree in the way so we turned around the other way and we found another tree down. My dad said we should get out and walk. As we started walking we heard him gobble about 100 yards from us. We hurried and ran back to our truck. I grabbed my gun and we put our camo face masks on. We walked down slowly and he was gobbling the whole way. I finally got a place to sit down and get ready to shoot. I eventually got to see him and he was followed by seven Jakes. I was so excited I could barely think straight. He walked to the decoys and did not even see us. I pulled my lever back and shot him. He was a trophy bird and was very good looking. I had such a great experience and would love to hunt turkeys again. - Kyleigh from the Magic Valley
We just got back from an afternoon of fishing on C.J. Strike Reservoir. We fished the narrows from a boat and caught several hundred yellow perch, bluegill and crappie. You may think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.
Now for the rest of the story... The crappie averaged 6.5 to 7.5” and the perch averaged 8”. Bluegill were small, as well. We did hook a few nice smallmouth bass, and Jerry managed to land a 6 lb. northern pikeminnow on a super-ultralight rod with 2 lb. test line, which had us all glued to the water until we saw what it was.
We got kind of bored catching so many small fish. We started off with a piece of nightcrawler on the hook, but got tired of the perch ripping it off all the time and having to re-bait, so we quit using it. So, we started using 1-1.5” tube jigs. We lowered it about six to ten feet, jigged it twice and set the hook. Many times fish would hit it on the way down. We had the best luck with white and yellow, but I think anything you put down there would catch fish, there’s just so many.
A few anglers were catching a few bigger perch a couple hundred yards out from the Cottonwood launch site.
Although we got bored catching small fish, this would be a great time for kids and family! And the fish should grow an inch or two this spring and summer, so August and September could be great! For real fun, fish with ultralight gear, as it helps to detect the bite better, as well. - Joe from Hagerman.
Salmon Falls Reservoir, located near the Idaho-Nevada border in South-Central Idaho, is known for outstanding walleye fishing. But it's the other species of fish that bring me back. Spring fishing for rainbow and rainbow/cutthroat trout along the shore using bait has been exceptional this spring. An afternoon fishing on the rocky points with jigs and lures produced respectable smallmouth bass. We even found a few walleye venturing into the shallows at the upper end of the reservoir as the afternoon sun warmed the water. Nowhere else in Idaho offers so much diversity and opportunity. It also generates indecision because I can’t decide what to fish for first. – Dave from Boise
Idahoans care about their wildlife. It's always uplifting to me to see a group of volunteers taking time to show their appreciation and volunteer at events such as sagebrush and bitterbrush planting to restore wildlife habitat.
Volunteers recently planted over the Minidoka complex fire at Big Cottonwood Wildlife Management Area. The Times-News story and photo gallery are now online.
Interested in volunteering? You can also learn more about the history of volunteers in Idaho Fish and Game's 75th celebration page.
Planting Game Habitat at Big Cottonwood
VIRGINIA HUTCHINS • TIMES-NEWS Mark Fleming, regional wildlife habitat manager, gives instructions to volunteers who will help the Idaho Department of Fish and Game plant sagebrush and bitterbrush seedlings in burned areas of the Big Cottonwood Wildlife Management Area on April 5, 2014.
Photo used by permission.
Once you harvest your turkey, the next step is preparing the meat and cooking up a great wild meal. Idaho chef, Randy King, not only has turkey recipes to try, but also tips on how to prepare turkey meat to get the best taste and texture from your bird.
For the spring turkey hunt, King offers up a recipe for Wild Turkey Cutlets. For other wild meat preparations, see Chef King’s website: http://chefrandyking.com/
Let's Talk Turkey
The total mass of a turkey is always surprising to me. I shoot other big birds like geese and sage hen often but a turkey is just a totally different ball game, and as such needs to be treated that way.
Turkeys consist of 5 cuts of meat in total: the breast, the tenderloin, the wings, the thighs and the drumsticks. Each of these bird parts beg for a separate cooking method. It is not wise to just roast a wild turkey like a butterball. The breast will probably be dry, the drumsticks will be good for dog chew toys and the thigh meat will require a steak knife.
This month I will concentrate on the breast meat of a turkey, by far the biggest bang for the buck.
Turkey breast meat is not as soft and juicy as store bought, but it has a ton more flavor. Think elk meat vs. beef – similar but still different. But like store bought meat it still needs cooked to 165 degrees to be safe to eat. Be careful when cooking meat to this temperature, it can be very dry. To avoid dry meat make sure to remove it from heat a whole 10 degrees before it reaches 165 degrees on the inside. Carry over cooking will finish the job of getting the meat to 165.
Breaded Turkey Cutlets with Oil Poached Garlic and Tomatoes served with Pan Roasted Orange
This recipe calls for turkey “cutlets” AKA slices of turkey breast. Lay your breast out on the counter. It will make half of a heart shape. Cut across the grain of the meat in about ¼ inch sections. You will get quite a few. It is even a little easier to cut when the meat is frozen a little.
Take those slices and place them between two sheets of clear plastic film about an inch from each other. Use a mallet or the bottom of a pan to hammer the slices into almost see through thin sections. You now have turkey “cutlets” and they are a transformed piece of wild game meat. Bread them and fry them, add a squeeze of lemon, and you have the German classic schnitzel. And that classic dish is what we are having fun with today. Replace the sour lemon with a sweeter caramelized orange and add the roasted garlic and tomatoes – bang – a whole new take on a classic.
Oil Poached Garlic and Tomatoes
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
In a small sauce pan add the garlic, tomatoes and oil. Turn heat to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Reserve in warm location. This will create more than you need for this recipe. Store them in a mason jar in the fridge, covered in oil and they will last up to a year. Just microwave the jar when you want some roasted garlic and tomatoes.
Pan Roasted Orange
- 2 oranges, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
In a medium sized cast iron skillet add the oil and then the orange halves, flesh side down. Heat on medium until the exposed orange flesh is dark brown. Remove pan from heat. Reserve.
- 8 each 2 oz. turkey cutlets
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning herb blend
- ¼ cup canola oil
Heat canola oil in a large sauté pan or cast iron on medium heat until a wooden spoon inserted into the oil just gives off bubbles and floats. Or head oil to 350 degrees. (This is an old German trick that I learned in Singapore, long story…all I know is that it works. The oil temp will be about 350 degrees)
Gather three small bowls. Place the flour, milk and bread crumbs in separate bowls. In the flour bowl add the black pepper, Italian seasoning and salt. Mix the flour and other ingredients together.
Place cutlets in the flour and coat all sides evenly. Then place the cutlet in the milk, wetting all sides. Then place the cutlet in the bread crumbs, forcefully pushing bread crumbs into all parts of the turkey cutlet. Reserve the breaded cutlet on a plate. Bread the remaining slices.
Carefully place one cutlet at a time in the hot oil. Cook the cutlet until it is golden brown and delicious, or “GB&D,” on one side then flip. Cook the other side until GB&D as well. Reserve the fried cutlets on a paper towel lined plate.