Recent Articles: Panhandle

Fish Web Chat - May 22nd

On May 22nd from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm mountain time you can chat with Fish folks from the Department.  Find out where to go fishing over Memorial Day Weekend, what the outlook is for salmon and steelhead season, and what/where has been stocked recently by our fish hatchery staff.  Find out if fall chinook salmon in Deadwood Reservoir  will be as big in 2014 as they were last year (see picture) or the latest information on the resurgent kokanee population in Lake Pend Oreille.

 

On May 22nd, go to our webpage and click on the designated button to enter questions and watch for a response.

 

What you need to know about 2014 spring bear season

This year is flying by and spring bear hunting season is underway. If you're a user of public lands, it's not a bad idea to keep track of hunting seasons.

Whether you're just enjoying a hike in the woods or interested in hunting bear, this is a resourceful article on bear seasons in North Idaho from the Spokesman Review.

If you're out and about and have seen a grizzly or black bear we'd like to know.
 Record your observation

Are you "bear aware?"
Learn the differences between Idaho's bears: Grizzlies and Black Bears

bears in idahobears in idaho 2

 

 

Projected Chinook Returns - Lower Salmon River

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!

Hayden Lake Crappie Fishing

First Crappie, April 2014, Hayden Lake - So far this has been by far the best crappie season we've seen in several years. With more normal spring weather, gradual warming, and minimal cold snaps that tend to turn off early season crappies. Last weekend my wife and I caught over 100 fish ranging from 8 - 12". Only two however were keepers over 10". Fished 1" tube skirt on 1/16 oz jig head, 2 - 3' below a spring style balsa float, and tipped with Crappie Nibbles (the nibbles definitely seemed to produce more fish). We fished several different jig colors, but didn't seem to matter. Green or white are still my favorites (wife prefers pink or purple). 

The Return of Kokanee Fishing on Lake Pend Oreille

It's time to fish for kokanee again on Lake Pend Oreille. The last time I fished for kokanee here was with my Dad, when it was a booming sport in the 1960s. I remember threading maggots on a small jighead and fishing for (and catching) kokanee with hand lines from the Sandpoint City dock.  It was a sad day when the fishery was closed in the 1970's, but now they’re back!

Kokanee, a “relative” of the ocean-going Sockeye Salmon, provided both a popular sport fishery and commercial fishery through the 1960s.  In the 1970s things changed when kokanee number crashed and kokanee harvest was eventually prohibited in Lake Pend Oreille. 

Now, the kokanee are back in Lake Pend Oreille.  Two years ago Fish and Game opened the lake for the daily harvest of 6 kokanee.  Last winter, large numbers of spawning kokanee were noted in tributary streams to Pend Oreille and in shore-spawning areas.  Recent sampling with nets showed kokanee numbers in the lake are similar to what we observed in the 1960’s.  Don’t be surprised to see bag limits on kokanee increased again in the near future. – Dave from Boise

Wild Turkey Cutlets by Chef Randy King

Wild Turkey Cutlets

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.

Turkey Cutlets

  • 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.

Wildlife detection systems showing signs for safety

Wildlife-vehicle collisions are a common occurrence in Idaho. The folks in Boundary County have taken some initiative to help reduce the danger from them.

Elk along highway

 

 

Across the state, you can report road-killed animals to Idaho Fish and Game. We use the data to analyze problem areas for vehicle-wildlife collisions and work with groups such as in Boundary County. You can report wildlife collisions, or even salvage some species by starting here.

 

Into the wolf den: Monitoring pup survival

Managing wolves is complicated. It requires a good understanding of their biology. That includes understanding wolf cub survival rates. Since the 1938 initiative, Idaho Fish and Game's biologists continue to try new methods to gain more knowledge and understanding of Idaho's wildlife to preserve, protect, and manage Idaho's wildlife resources.

The following Spokesman Review article tells about Lacy Robinson's recent ground breaking research for monitoring wolf pups. Read more at http://spokesman.com/stories/2014/mar/05/idaho-biologist-develops-way-to-track-wolf-pup/

Collared wolf pup, (c) Lacy Robinson, Idaho Fish and Game

Want to know more? This video documents the new method of monitoring wolf pups.
Note: There is footage of a minor surgery that some users might find upsetting.

 

 

Lynx captured and released in North Idaho

Have you ever seen a lynx in Idaho? It's a very rare sight, but one that hopefully will lead to learning more about these solitary cats.
 
Lynx with tracking collar
Lynx are listed as Threatened by official Idaho classification and one of the goals of the Multi-species Baseline Initiative is to gather more information about species of greatest conservation need.

 

Learn more about the story behind the recent Lynx capture at the Spokesman Review.

If you'd like to learn even more, photos and details on the capture are also available on the Multi-species Baseline Initiative article.

 
 
If you have seen a lynx in Idaho, please let us know. You can report seeing any animal in Idaho in our online Observations system.