Q: Hey Zimo, do you have any theories on the lack of crappie this year at Brownlee Reservoir ?
Early spring wasnt too bad for us, and they were good-size, but our last several times out, nothing.
D. HETZ, via email
A: Weve been getting mixed reports on fishing out of Brownlee Reservoir, so I went to Idaho Fish and Game for the scoop.
Several factors were at play that likely caused relatively poor crappie fishing during May and early June, said Joe Kozfkay, Fish and Game southwest region fisheries manager.
A lot was going on. The Upper Snake River reservoirs were more full than usual and there was average or above average snowpack throughout much of southern and eastern Idaho.
Under this scenario, reservoir managers are forced to draw Brownlee Reservoir down to very low levels just in case the snow melts in a hurry, he said. This reduces the likelihood of flooding downstream.
Afterward, reservoir managers wanted to fill Brownlee Reservoir quickly, and water levels rose over a foot a day for much of the prime crappie-fishing period.
Crappie are confused by rapidly rising water levels and do not go to the banks where they are most susceptible to anglers, Kozfkay said. Instead they suspend off shore, develop lock jaw, and are generally just way more difficult to catch.
Adding to the mix is that crappie numbers in Brownlee Reservoir are at moderate levels. Fish and Game monitors crappie, and in 2008 and 2009 crappie were only moderately successful at producing young, he said.
So, even under ideal water conditions, these classes of fish would have supported only an average fishery during 2012.
There is a silver lining. The 2010 class of crappie appeared to be large. If this years class didnt die off later in life, we hope that these fish will start to be available to anglers during 2013 and will support a good fishery, Kozfkay said.
WOLVES, KIDS, DOGS
Q: Hello Pete. I was hoping you could give us a little insight to the wolves in the Secesh Meadows Subdivision. We knew they were in the area, but this winter a gentleman that lives up there full time lost one of his dogs to a wolf.
We were up there this week on the Secesh River Road and came across huge paw prints.
Now that is a little too close for comfort. I was wondering how safe it is to walk my dog, or to let the kids go for a walk.
Will the wolves hang around, or will the presence of people coming up for the summer cause them to leave the area?
Any information you can give us would be great.
SHARON, via email
A: Basically, a lot of the advice used for hiking or living in bear country can be applied to wolf territory.
I would think that if there is a lot of human activity in the area, wolves would shy away.
However, if wolves are frequenting the area, youll want to feed your pets indoors and not leave food outside, whether at your cabin or campsite.
Youll want to keep your dog inside at night. Dont leave your dog unattended outside near your cabin or campsite.
Whenever Im in wolf country, I keep my dog within sight and under control when hiking, and even when Im grouse hunting. A lot of my grouse-hunting areas are in wolf territory.
Most wildlife agency websites say domestic dogs that go unsupervised away from their owners in wolf territory are at risk.
I also wouldnt think of leaving the dog leashed at a campsite alone while going on a hike or fishing.
If it were cool enough, Id leave the dog in the camper. However, our dogs go with us all the time.
I would also think youd want to accompany your youngsters on hikes in the area, especially after seeing tracks.
GETTING TO STACK ROCK
Q: We have been reading for the past couple of years that you can now get from Avimor to Stack Rock.
We have tried riding a couple of times on this route, only to hit dead ends with locked gates and no trespassing signs. The one that stands out is some timber company.
Any suggestions on where we can get a map that shows us how to travel this route?
For those that have not been on the Avimor trail system, it is truly a gem for our community.
LOUIS MILLER, via email
A: Sorry to say, there is no legal access to Stack Rock from Avimor.
It would be neat to have the access, but there are large parcels of private land along the way.
One large parcel is signed well and owned by the Hoff Timber Corporation, said David Gordon, Ridge to Rivers trails coordinator.
The only public trailhead to Stack Rock is located near the entrance of Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, 16 miles north of Boise.
Just before coming to Bogus Basin, theres a trailhead off Bogus Basin Road for the No. 120 Eastside Trail.
Park there and head out. You can see more details at the Ridge to Rivers website by going to ridgetorivers.cityofboise.org.
Its a pretty hefty hike. Its about 16 miles round-trip.
You take the Eastside Trail 6.4 miles, which winds its way on mountain contours.
At the junction of the Eastside Trail and the Mr. Big Trail, youll soon come to No. 125 Freddys Stack Rock Trail, which is a 3.5-mile loop.
Experts say the trek takes mountain bikers about two hours, and riders can expect steep terrain.
It can take hikers five to six hours, counting a lunch break and leisurely exploring around Stack Rock.
When I was trying to find Stack Rock coming in from Bogus Basin Road, I thought the hike would never end.
GOOD SILVER CITY RIDE
Your description of the road to Silver City from the Jordan Valley side is accurate (July 5).
What I like about that road is that it gives you a very different view of the mountains compared to the Murphy approach.
If the mine scars dont bother you too much, its a nice drive.
TERRY RICH, via email
GUTS AND ROSES
You are the man when it comes to everything outdoors. I never question any of your advice, but you missed the mark on the fish guts (July 5).
The guts need to go in the garden under the roses. I only wish I was a better fisherman so my roses had more of this wonderful natural fertilizer.
The only caution I have is the neighborhood dogs. They are sniffing my rose beds and their owners have no idea what the sudden interest is about.
I do not grow corn, but I believe the Indians taught the Pilgrims this gardening tip.
DEB G., via email
RESPOND TOCYCLISTS BELL
Bravissimo for your great presentation of the rules and risks of cycling around Boise (or most anywhere).
Ive ridden my road bike since arrival in Boise in 2000. My mileage is now 35,345, all for the purpose of maintaining fitness. I avoid the Greenbelt during the summer to minimize the risks.
In your list of sights on the Greenbelt, pedestrians walking three and four abreast taking up both lanes, or even two abreast, is the most frequent and problematic for me.
My alert method is to whistle well ahead of reaching any walkers. Thats because Ive found whistling carries a longer distance than yelling.
Then, I use on your left if whistling doesnt yield some form of acknowledgment.
Thus, if you could start a campaign to require or encourage walkers to acknowledge hearing a bikers alert, that would be very favorable.
Because to me, even after alerting walkers of my pending arrival, without any acknowledgment, I cant be sure theyve heard the alert and wont move left into my path at the last instant, which happened once (adding some road rash to one elbow).
Acknowledgement could be for a walker to simply raise a hand without even turning toward the biker. Or moving just a bit to the right.
Many thanks for your efforts to improve safety while biking!
DAVID HURWITZ, via email
Zimo note: This is an excellent suggestion and one walkers should take to heart.
Greenbelt users want bicyclists to use bells or the phrase on your left, but walkers also need to take some responsibility.
Walkers nodding or waving that they know a cyclist is coming is definitely a good safety measure.
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors