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).
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
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
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.
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.
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/
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.
It's no secret that Idaho has a lot of fishing opportunity. If you're planning your next fishing trip, this article may help you find a destination.
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.
An injured peregrine falcon has made the news thanks to charitable couple and the efforts of bird rehabilitators.
Learn the story at the Magic Valley Times: http://magicvalley.com/lifestyles/recreation/injured-peregrine-falcon-s-release-delayed-to-spring/article_bd179493-c7df-58c0-be17-7ab7d2f7ce72.html