FISHING – McDowell Lake, a prized fly-fishing water in Stevens County is, among 11 lakes in Eastern Washington proposed for treatment to optimize the waters for trout.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials want to treat three lake systems with rotenone, a naturally occurring pesticide commonly used to remove undesirable fish species from lakes and streams.
McDowell Lake, a standout trout fishery on the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, has gone downhill as nongame fish such as tench have proliferated.
Other trout-management waters proposed for treatment this fall include the Hampton Lake chain and Sago, Hourglass, and Widgeon Lakes in Grant County to remove species including bass, bullhead, stunted panfish and tench.
The Hampton Chain is made up of Upper and Lower Hampton Lake, Hampton Slough, Hen Lake, Dabbler Lake, Marie Lake and Juvenile Lake.
“The goal is to restore trout populations by removing competing species that have essentially taken over the lake's resources,” said Bruce Bolding, warmwater fish program manager.
“Illegally stocked fish compete with trout fry for food and prey, rendering efforts to stock trout fry ineffective.”
Public meetings to discuss the proposed treatments are set for Wednesday, July 23, at two locations starting at 6 p.m.:
- Ephrata, at the WDFW Region 2 Office.
- Colville, at the WDFW District 1 Office, 755 S. Main St.
The decision on whether to go ahead with the treatments will be made in September.
The agency says, “Rotenone is an organic substance derived from the roots of tropical plants, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved for use as a fish pesticide.” It disrupts the ability of fish’s gills to process oxygen from the water.
WDFW has used rotenone in lake and stream rehabilitations for more than 70 years, and is used by other fish and wildlife management agencies nationwide.