Chinook and Vandals 

Free fishing day Saturday, June 11

There are a lot of reasons to be thankful to live in Idaho, especially when it seems like the rest of the country is burning up, blowing away or under water. All we've had to deal with is a long, cool spring, which really isn't that bad.

As an unexpected bonus of the cool weather, the chinook season has been delayed, which means the fish reaching Idaho's rivers and streams are expected to be larger. Officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game say there may even be more fish than projected earlier this year.

In recent weeks, the number of fish reaching Bonneville Dam has increased, and wildlife managers said a higher portion of the fish returning this year will have spent three years, instead of two, in the ocean--a factor that means the older fish can be up to 10 pounds heavier.

The season opened on April 23 in some areas, but won't open until Saturday, June 18, in others. On May 19, the Fish and Game Commission changed the daily and possession limits on some waterways, including the Clearwater, Snake, Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers. Daily limits are six chinook, with only two adults--measuring 24 inches or longer--while the possession limit is 18, with only six adults. The season limit on chinook remains 20 adults.

For details on the season and regulations, visit fishandgame.idaho.gov.

If you're new to chinook fishing--or fishing in general--Saturday, June 11, is your chance to try your hand at the sport without purchasing a fishing license. Free Fishing Day means you can fish anywhere in the state without a license (as long as you respect private property and area closures).

Of course, it's not an angler free-for-all: Besides the fishing license, all other regulations and restrictions are still in effect.

Switching gears from the water to terra firma, the Bureau of Land Management is looking for tips to help solve the mystery of who caused some serious damage to the Jump Creek recreation area south of Marsing.

Some ne'er-do-wells decided to destroy information kiosks, signs, facilities and barriers at one of the area's most popular recreation jumping-off points. Damage included spray painting words and symbols that have links to gang activity.

BLM officials said they have spent nearly $1,000 trying to fix the damage so far. The department is offering a $1,000 reward for any info that leads to the arrest of those responsible for the vandalism. Any tips can be directed to Stan Buchanan at 208-384-3333.

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