Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Outdoors Roundup



On September 13, a 31-year-old fisheries biologist working for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife drowned while snorkeling in the Wind River near Carson.  Contacted a week after the incident, WDFW media representative Becky Elder declined to release the identity of the employee.  However, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, who responded to the scene, did release the name of the victim who is Erin Peterson from Ridgefield, Washington.

In a press release from WDFW, Agency Director Kelly Susewind stated, “She (Peterson) was an extraordinary woman and colleague. Her commitment and dedication to her work as a fish and wildlife biologist was exceptional. Our hearts are with her family and all who knew and worked with her.” 

Peterson was participating in a survey of summer steelhead when she became entrapped and drowned.  These surveys are done to count the number of adult fish and their redds (where eggs are laid) in rivers around the Northwest.  In their press release, WDFW stated they have now canceled snorkeling surveys until further notice.


MarDon Resort at Potholes Reservoir was the host of the annual Marathon Dock Tournament that took place between Friday evening the 15th thru Sunday morning the 17th at the resort marina.  A full field of 148 anglers paid $40 each to participate and the individuals who caught the biggest two fish from any of the ten species available here took home some money ($400 for first place and $135 for second place).  Some of the biggest fish caught off the docks included a 14+ and 13+ pound carp brought in by K. Goss along with a 9.7-pound channel catfish reeled in by Nicole Nelson.

Meanwhile, 20 boats participated in the Old Farts Bass Tournament on the 16th and Rusty Johnston and I were onboard one of them.  We had a great day of fishing, reeling in over 30 bass and four walleye.  Unfortunately, only one bass was a quality one (3.5 pounds) and Rusty lost a 4+ pound smallmouth bass just as we were about to net it.  At the end of the day, we weighed in a limit of five bass weighing just under 11 pounds, putting us dead last among the 20 teams.

Who were the winners?  That would be the repeating championship team of Tag Watson and Matt Krumdiak who weighed in a 21-pound limit of bass, earning them a $1560 paycheck.  The big fish of the day was hauled in by Jake Boomer, a hefty 5.47-pound largemouth bass worth $500.  Boomer and his partner Mike Bess came in second place at the event, weighing in just over 19 pounds of bass, receiving a check of $730 (plus the big bass bonus).

The Old Farts Tournament is put on in mid-September every year by the Banks Lake Bass Club.  It is a low-key, fun event and the club does a great job putting it on.  You can find out more about this tournament and other ones they host at .  MarDon Resort’s annual Marathon Dock Tournament will take place again next September and you can find out more about that and the resort at .


I was reading the September Washington State Parks e-newsletter which covered the remaining free days available for day-visitors to enter and park in Washington’s State Parks without a Discover Pass.  One of those dates is the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 24th.  I was curious why the State Parks and Recreation Commission chose to not call it a Thanksgiving or Day after Thanksgiving free day and emailed the media department to ask them why.

Having not received a response right away, I began researching this and found the day after Thanksgiving was first made a free day to enter state parks in 2017 where it was called, Autumn Free Day.  It remained as Autumn Day through 2021 but in 2022 the free day after Thanksgiving got a new name, Native American Heritage Day.  However, in 2023, the late November free entry day was once again designated, Autumn Day.  Is this all about wokeness and cancel culture towards Thanksgiving?  Did someone object to it being called Native American Heritage Day?

I did receive a reply from State Parks media staff shortly before this column went to press stating, “Washington State Parks and the departments of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Natural Resources (DNR) have offered a Discover Pass “free day” the day after Thanksgiving for several years. The free day is not associated with Thanksgiving. It is the last free day of the year and coincides with autumn and school vacation for many families.”

So perhaps I’m mistaken about cancel culture though the reply doesn’t answer the question as to why they changed the name from Native American Heritage Day back to Autumn Day for 2023.  Maybe it’s just the way things are done by our state agencies in Washington these days.  A great example is the Hungarian partridge, nicknamed the “Hun” for short, which saw its name changed to the completely non-offending and uninspiring name, gray partridge a few years ago by WDFW.  Autumn Day falls into the same category.  Afraid to offend any one person or groups of people, you just change the name to something that won’t offend (or inspire) anyone.

Of course, that’s just my personal opinion.  However, no matter what it’s called, November 24th would be a good day to get outside into one of our state parks instead of spending the day inside of big box retail stores or in front of a computer all day shopping online.

John Kruse – and



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