SENATOR WELKER WILL OPPOSE HIGH DAMS ON IDAHO'S FAMOUS CLEARWATER RIVER
When Idaho's Republican Senator Herman Welker arrived in Boise last week it was to attend a funeral. No one expected him to take a stand on one of the nation's hottest conservation issues. But take a stand he did, and for the first time.
The issue, and a painful thorn in the side of people who value the outdoors, is Senate Document 51 in which the Army Corps of Engineers outlines its proposals for dams throughout the Pacific Northwest. Included are two 600-foot-high dams on the North and Middle Forks of the Clearwater, both bitterly contested by conservationists.
According to Document 51, the proposed Bruce's Eddy and Penny Cliffs dams are vital to flood control, but critics emphasize the curious fact that since 1900 there have been only two floods on the Clearwater, contend further that the loss in wildlife values would be severe. Much of the winter range of Idaho's immense Selway elk herd would be flooded. The last unobstructed steelhead trout and salmon spawning area in the Clearwater Drainage would be blocked. And impounded water would back up into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. Low upstream dams, conservationists and sportsmen maintain, will serve the purpose and save the game.
May 20, 1956
Hearings on Senate Document 51 were scheduled for this month, and many Idahoans, along with state and national organizations, were prepared for a vigorous, but what they privately conceded would be a vain, battle to defeat the Bruce's Eddy and Penny Cliffs projects.
Then Senator Welker attended the funeral, and afterward unexpectedly outlined his views on the Clearwater situation in a talk with OUTDOOR WEEK Correspondent Lea Bacos.
Senator Welker admitted he had been too busy to study Document 51. But if what he heard was indeed true, he could see no necessity for high dams and would go on the record to that effect. Said Welker: "The problem is a most serious one and I intend to give it the most thorough study. An industry such as wildlife in Idaho is a vital resource to my state's economy and to the welfare of my fellow sportsmen." Then, Welker took his stand. "Before the winter range of the Selway elk herd is destroyed, and the run of steelhead and salmon stopped, there had better be a more paramount interest to the public in flood control than I can now see. Especially, when at least in my view flood control can be completely effective with upstream low dams and not high downstream storage dams."
The political facts of life are that Senator Welker stands for re-election this year and that roughly half of Idaho's 600,000 population is actively concerned with hunting and fishing. But, for the most part Idaho is likely to concede that the Senator's interest is sincere and will welcome a powerful voice that could translate despair into triumph.
Josephine and Crip are the only two whooping cranes in captivity. Twenty-eight more exist precariously in the wild. None has been hatched in captivity, but two weeks ago at New Orleans' Audubon Zoo, Josephine laid an egg (OUTDOOR WEEK, May 7). Then, as if that was not enough to send the ornithological world into a swivet, she produced another.
From Josephine's maternal deportment Zoo Director George Douglass is convinced both eggs are fertile and should hatch in a week or so. Meanwhile he has posted an armed guard over her nest to forestall crane-or manmade calamity. Josephine has had four previous whacks at motherhood and muffed each one. "I'm getting more nervous every day," says Douglass, but he is doing everything in the zoological book to help Jo hatch whooping cranes number 31 and 32.
Wildlife biologists, having swung the pendulum of sportsman conservation thought one way, often have considerable difficulty swinging it the other.
An interesting example is the lively controversy now underway in Humboldt County, California, where the state Department of Fish and Game is anxious to authorize the killing of does. Like many areas, in which predator and other natural wildlife population controls no longer exist, Humboldt County has a deer herd large enough to withstand a much heavier hunter kill. County sportsmen, however, rigidly oppose the move to make does legal game. And the opposition stems from an honest, though invalid, fear. Explains Raymond Dasmann, assistant professor of wildlife management at Humboldt State College: "For decades the Department of Fish and Game said the only way to protect deer was to safeguard does...people were told that [otherwise] deer herds were threatened with extinction."
Even though many states have long since abandoned the so-called buck law and still enjoy excellent deer herds, Humboldt County sportsmen are reluctant to accept latter-day management practices. In Dasmann's opinion "the change was too sudden for most people...plainly a case of overselling the original program."
SO—season opened (or opens); SC—season closed (or closes).
C—clear water; D—water dirty or roily; M-water muddy.
N—water at normal height; SH—slightly high; H—high; VH—very high; L—low; R—rising; F—falling.
WT50—water temperature 50°.
FG—fishing good; FF—fishing fair; FP fishing poor; OG-outlook good; OF—outlook fair; OP—outlook poor
TROUT: MICHIGAN: Heavy rains in wake of weekend tornadoes swelled lower peninsula streams to flood levels; FP but OG as waters recede. Most of last week's catches were stocked fish except on Platte and Betsie where season's greatest concentrations of spring-spawning rainbows were reported.
PENNSYLVANIA: Heavy rains over most of central Pennsylvania last Sunday put streams near flood level. Expected upturn in fishing has not occurred, although WT 54-58. Fly hatches seem substandard.
WASHINGTON: Trout fishing in lowland lakes still getting most interest but SO May 20 for high lakes and streams and OP for lower lakes as warm weather continues. Spies report lots of snow still in higher altitudes and only a few lakes below 35,000 feet on south slopes will be fishable. Packwood and Glacier lakes in Lewis County are ice free now, should have good crowds and FF. Beaver ponds, many unnamed, have been planted heavily and will produce fine catches for those who hike in. Most west-side lakes deep under record snows and OVP until about August 1 above 5,000-foot level. Goss and Granberry lakes on Whidbey Island reported cleaned out by mergansers and FVP; ditto for Pass Lake on Fidaglo Island, over-fished last fall. Sportsmen are jubilant over unanimous decision of state supreme court upholding disputed right to fish entire surface of any lake to which legal access exists.
VERMONT: Upper stretches of White River producing brown trout to 18 inches and limit catches of brookies are reported from upper Lamoille River, on bait. Willoughby and Barton rivers in Orleans area producing rainbows in 15-to 20-inch class but spawning run is behind schedule and few big fish are being caught.
WISCONSIN: Brule River WT 44-48; FF/G with bait or spinners as rainbows are still working way down stream after latest spawning run in many years. OG as water warms.
CALIFORNIA: FP last week because of heavy rains and unsettled weather but OF/G for bait and spinner fishing as weather improves. Best bets in northern area, west slope of Sierra, are Lake Pillsbury, upper Eel River, smaller tributaries of Trinity River, Kern River and Isabella Lake. On east slope, FG and OG for Crowley, Convict, June and Lundy lakes and Owens River. Hot Creek clearing and big browns showing interest in nymphs and wet flies. Anglers who don't mind fighting brush are getting limits on Taboose, Birch, Hogback, Lone Pine and Cottonwood creeks south of Bishop. New two-foot snow last week in high passes will further delay opening of high lakes.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: FG on all on Vancouver Island lakes and most Kamloops trout lakes of the interior. Streams are generally H and D, but trout are being caught in Cowichan River and at mouth of Campbell. OG generally and improving steadily throughout province.
NEW MEXICO: Brazos and Chama rivers muddy; worm fishermen getting occasional trout but OP. FVG at Tularosa Creek, Penasco, Rio Grande, Cimarron and Red rivers, Willow and Netrito.
OREGON: Heavy rains last week raised and roiled most rivers in central Oregon and OP in all streams except Metolius where FG with nymphs and small dry flies in fly-fishing-only area. Streams running into Willamette Valley from Cascade Mountains H and R from snow run-off. FP/F and OP.
MISSOURI: Roaring River C, SL, FG for rainbow trout averaging two pounds, and OG. At Bennett Spring water is clear and although most trout are caught on woolly worm flies, dries are producing some fish; average is about 1 pound and few exceed 2 pounds; OG.
STRIPED BASS: NEW JERSEY: OF for Long Branch jetties where a few 5- to 10-pounders were taken on bloodworm bait last week; best prospects are after dark. Shrewsbury River was showing signs of life last week and trollers were taking some fish at the Seabright-Rumson Bridge on spinner and worm combination at slack water.
CALIFORNIA: FG between storms and rain with Frank's Tract, Hamilton Flats and San Pablo Bay and the Sacramento River from Sherman Island up to Isleton hottest spots; bass were running smallish, and few over 15 pounds were reported.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Striped bass started hitting in the diversion canal between Santee-Cooper lakes last week as upstream spawning is apparently ending. Most fish are small with only occasional 10-pounders taken.
ATLANTIC SALMON: NOVA SCOTIA: FG in Annapolis River and tributaries as water levels were receding to normal; and 25 salmon were killed last week. Other streams still H and FP. In general OF/G.
MAINE: Dr. Royal T. Whitney of Cherryfield, Maine landed the season's first fresh-run Atlantic salmon from the Narraguagus River last week. He hooked the 9-pound 12-ounce fish at the Cable Pool and beached it after 30 minutes.
WEAKFISH: LOUISIANA: James Henderson of Slidell, Louisiana caught an 8-pound 4-ounce weakfish last Sunday on live croaker bail to set new record for Lake Pontchartrain where large catches of speckles averaging nearly five pounds are being boated in wholesale lots.
FLORIDA: In Miami area FVG for weaks at Jewfish Creek; favorite method is to park boat beneath bridge at night and work live shrimp bait with the flow of water.
PACIFIC SALMON: IDAHO: As Chinook salmon start to move, count for three days over Bonneville Dam was approximately 85,000 fish, and salmon should be in Weiser River by about June 1.
WASHINGTON: Charter boats off Westport are finding kings closer to shore and FG except when heavy wind prohibits off-shore boating; average weight has been 12 to 15 pounds with occasional 30 pounders showing. La Push fishing good for commercial men but sports fishermen haven't hit it yet; crowds will gather when vacations start after June 1. For second consecutive season former huge runs of springs along Neah and Callam bays haven't showed and apparently heavy fishing pressure has wiped them out. Inside waters of Puget Sound picking up and FF at Point Evans and Point Defiance for kings to 18 pounds. FF and OG at Ediz Hook near Port Angeles for kings to 25 pounds. North Puget Sound improving fast with good catches of springs averaging 12 pounds around Waldron Island and between "slide" and Buckhorn Lodge on north shore of Orcas.
CALIFORNIA: When weather is calm, FVG from Monterey to Point Reyes. Spotty off Golden Gate but everybody's getting fish when boats go out; best off Farallones.
OREGON: Alone in 21-foot cruiser outside the treacherous bar at Winchester Bay, Tom Allen of Salem, Oregon had fished only one half hour when fog rolled in thick and heavy. As Allen started to reel in his herring lure attached to 12-pound-test line on salt-water spinning reel, a big Chinook inhaled the bait. After one hour and twenty minutes Allen boated a 36-pound Chinook, then noticed that fog was so thick he could not see bow of cruiser from cockpit. After shutting off motor to locate sound of whistling buoy he made the whistler, then took compass bearing in to bell buoy which he hit on the nose. Allen then guided himself over the bar by listening carefully to heavy surf breaking on jetties. Safe at docking area Allen weighed in largest fish of his career and first of the season for any area angler.
Among last week's noteworthy catches: a 10-pound 7-ounce LARGEMOUTH BASS caught by Arthur Sherill of Crossville, Tennessee while fishing in Crossville City Lake with fly rod and popping bug; a 52½-pound CHANNEL BASS caught by D. C. Clore of Madison, Virginia while trolling a No. 7 spoon in Oregon Inlet; a 37½-pound CHINOOK SALMON caught by H.J. Reidel of Glendale, California on 15-pound-test line after one-hour battle off Santa Barbara; an 89-pound 8-ounce BLACK DRUM caught by Joseph Spears of Washington, D.C. while fishing off Cape Charles, Virginia on charter boat.
Mr. and Mrs. H. Gordon Ferguson display five salmon they killed on Scotland's famed River Tay. The largest, a 46-inch 35-pounder, was taken by Mr. Ferguson and was the heaviest in many years from the lower Scone beat.