FISHING — More than 4,000 lake trout were caught and handled — most of them released — during the first phase of a Priest Lake fisheries assessment that ended May 17, the Idaho Fish and Game Department reports.
Most of those lake trout were tagged and released, but 27 percent were killed.
Here are the numbers pertaining to lake trout:
- 4,071, total netted by commercial fishermen, including 88 recaptured trout.
- 2957, tagged and released.
- 696, killed in netting or handling.
- 418, sacrificed for age and diet research.
In addition, the project captured 3 bull trout, 1 kokanee, 95 suckers, 11 whitefish, and 22 pikeminnow—all of which were released alive, said Jim Fredericks, IFG regional fisheries manager.
- The number of fish handled and killed in the assessment is a very small portion of the overall population. Annual angler harvest has ranged from 15-30 thousand, so an additional 1,100 fish is not a significant impact to the population.
- The netting effort this spring was an assessment, not a suppression effort. Over the next five years we will continue biological and social assessments as we develop a long-term management plan for Priest and Upper Priest lakes. This will not be done without extensive public involvement.
- This effort represents the first comprehensive assessment of the lake trout population on Priest Lake – ever! Not only will this give us some understanding of population size, but it will provide a wealth of information regarding age, growth rates, angler harvest rates, along with age/size structure of the population. These are extremely valuable pieces of information regardless of how the population will be managed in long term.