Rainbow trout rule changes proposed

Print Article

SANDPOINT — Time is running out to comment on the Idaho Department of Fish & Game’s plans to implement more restrictive rainbow trout regulations and restore a limited kokanee fishery on Lake Pend Oreille.

The deadline to comment on the proposed rule changes is Sept. 30.

The current regulation — unlimited rainbow trout harvest and a $15 incentive — would be replaced with a six-day daily trout limit with no cash incentive. The new rules would also allow only one rainbow trout over 20 inches.

Although the angler incentive program would end for rainbow trout, it would resume for lake trout.

Jim Fredericks, Panhandle region fisheries manager, acknowledges that the rule changes aren’t the “ultimate trophy regulation” for the lake, but it’s a big step in that direction.

Efforts to suppress lake trout began in 2006 and are paying off.

“We’re certainly not saying the battle is over, but thanks to everyone involved, we’ve come a very long way in the past six years,” said Fredericks. “We are now at a point where we can start to rebuild the trophy rainbow trout fishery and provide limited kokanee harvest.”

The proposed kokanee limit will also be six fish.

“We aren’t talking about a return to the heyday of 25 or 50 fish, but even so it would be great to see people out trolling for kokanee again,” said Fredericks.

The lake’s kokanee population has been steadily increasing since 2007, when it was at an all-time low. The population is now at a higher level than when it was when kokanee were closed to harvest in 2000, according to Andy Dux, a Fish & Game biologist heading up the research program.

As long as kokanee numbers continue to ascend, the population is capable of supporting a fishery, Dux said.

Another main topic in the rule-change effort involves the management of Priest and Upper Priest lakes. Priest Lake is being managed as a lake trout fishery, whereas Upper Priest is managed to maintain the native bull trout and cutthroat trout populations through active lake trout suppression.

Due to the extent of the extent of the lake trout movement between the two lakes, Fredericks said managing the two as separate systems is no longer a practical, long-term solution.

Abandoning efforts to maintain the native fish community in Upper Priest Lake or trying to restore a kokanee, bull trout and cutthroat fishery in both lakes through a lake trout suppression efforts has drawn mixed reviews from anglers.

Although the lake trout fishery is very popular with some, others have little interest in lakers and welcome the prospect of a more diverse fishery, Fredericks said.

“In short, people were divided almost right down the middle,” he said.

Compounding the problem is the fact that biologists don’t have a clear picture of lake trout and kokanee populations in Priest Lake are interacting right now.

“Given the split public response — coupled with questions about factors controlling the kokanee population, lake trout diet and growth, angler harvest rates and potential funding — it would be premature to make a decision about the long-term management of Priest Lake right now,” said Fredericks.

As a result, the department plans on using the 2013-2018 planning period to collect necessary data to gain a better understanding population dynamics and ecology of Priest Lake. A stakeholders group will also be formed to help guide long-term management plans for Priest and Upper Priest lakes.

The draft fisheries management plan can be viewed online: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov

How to weigh in

Anglers who have thoughts on proposed rule changes can send their remarks to Idaho Fish & Game via these methods:

• Call: (208) 769-1414

• Email: jim.fredericks@idfg.idaho.gov

• Mail: 2885 West Kathleen Ave., Coeur d’Alene, ID. 83815

• In person: at the address above

• Online: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov

Print Article

Read More News

The Latest: Tokyo subway temporarily closed over N. Korea

AP

April 28, 2017 at 9:01 pm | SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on North Korea test-firing a missile Saturday (all times local): 1:05 p.m. One of Tokyo's major subways systems says it shut down all lines for 10 minutes...

Comments

Read More

Celebrating ‘collective confidence’

April 28, 2017 at 11:49 am | Coeur d'Alene Press By BRIAN WALKER Hagadone News Network COEUR d'ALENE — From strong roots comes the prospect of bountiful fruit. The first 30 years of Jobs Plus have laid the foundation for exciting economic deve...

Comments

Read More

Second arrest in alleged beating

April 28, 2017 at 11:48 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — A second suspect has been arrested in connection with an alleged attack that hospitalized a Bonner County man last month. Shane Alan Carson, 30, is charged with first-degree kidnapping a...

Comments

Read More

City puts public art on display

April 28, 2017 at 11:48 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — The Sandpoint Arts Commission will soon create a program of annually alternating sculptures on the Sand Creek bike and pedestrian path near City Beach called the "Silver Box Project....

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2017 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X