Outdoors

Pikepalooza proves Pend Oreille River still holds whoppers

Pikepalooza angler shows off a prize-winning northern pike. (Kalispell Tribe)
Pikepalooza angler shows off a prize-winning northern pike. (Kalispell Tribe)

FISHING — The gillnets didn't get all the northern pike in the Pend Oreille River.

This spring, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department and Kalispel Tribe used gillnets to remove about 87 percent of the non-native northern pike in the Box Canyon section of the river downstream from Newport. (See story)

But results from the June 29-July 1 Pikepalooza organized by the Kalispel Tribe indicate that serious anglers not only can catch a number of northern pike in the river on an outing, they also can catch some whoppers.

  • Josh Whitney won a whopping $1,000 for catching the most northern pike — 14 — during the tournament.
  • Dale Smith won $500 for catching the largest pike of the derby — 46.4 inches long!

The tribe reports that 138 anglers pre-registered and an additional 70 anglers signed up on site.

But water and weather conditions limited participation to about 80 anglers who turned out to compete for $3,000 in cash prizes and more than $500 in raffle prizes.

Although anglers faced tough fishing conditions over the weekend including high water, wake restrictions, closed boat launches, and hit-and-miss weather, the 80 anglers harvested 81 northern pike, reports Jason Connor, the Tribe's fisheries biologist.

  • 33 people registered at least one pike.
  • Pike from 286 mm (11.25”) to 1178 mm (46.4”) were harvested with the majority (74%) being 1-2 year olds less than 18 inches. 
  • No tagged pike were caught, so prizes will roll over to the next Pikepalooza event set for Aug. 3-5.

Read on for the complete list of prize winners.

The Winners:

1st Place Most Fish (14)                      Josh Whitney              $1,000

2nd Place Most Fish (9)                        Wyatt Zimmerer          $500

3rd Place Most Fish (5)                        David Bluff                $125

                                                                        Richard Busch                        $125

Smallest Pike (286 mm, 11.25”)         Jeff Burke                   $250

Largest Pike (1178 mm, 46.4”)           Dale Smith                  $500

Aggregate Length (5744 mm, 226”)   Josh Whitney              $500

Raffle Winners:

Justin Joy                                            $100 Cabelas gift card, 2 lawn chairs

Charley Lavigueur                              $100 Cabelas gift card

Richard Busch                                                Pizza Factory XL pizza

Randy Cavalier                                   Northern Quest overnight dinner and concert package

Josh Whitney                                      YJ Guide Service fishing trip, $50 Northern Quest

Jim Mathisen                                       $50 Northern Quest gift certificate

Josh Tachelle                                       $50 Northern Quest gift certificate

Wyatt Zimmerer                                  $50 Northern Quest gift certificate

Richard Belt                                        $50 Northern Quest gift certificate

William Dye                                        $50 Northern Quest gift certificate

Anthony Becks                                   Ugly Stick fishing rod and reel

David Bluff                                        Two lawn chairs




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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