Outdoors

Out & About: Researchers to net mackinaw at Priest Lake

Lake trout studied at Priest Lake

FISHING – Coinciding with a debate about future management of the Priest Lake mackinaw fishery, the Idaho Fish and Game Department is joining a comprehensive study of the lake’s trout population that will involve commercial-style gillnetting.

The University of Idaho College of Natural Resources and the Kalispel Tribe will help in estimating the number of lake trout in Priest Lake and identifying growth and survival rates and food habits. 

Large-scale netting equipment will be used, similar to that being used in Lake Pend Oreille, said Phil Cooper, IFG spokesman in Coeur d’Alene. 

From March through May, deepwater trapnets and short-duration set gillnets will be used to capture, measure, and mark lake trout with an individually numbered tag. 

A portion of the fish will be killed for age and stomach analysis but many lake trout will be marked and released in the lake so more data can be obtained from the anglers who catch them.

Public meetings on managing Priest Lake mackinaw are planned for late February, IFG officials said.

Priest Lake’s popular cutthroat, bull trout, and kokanee fisheries collapsed three decades ago corresponding to the introduction and the 1980s boom in the lake trout population.

Without abundant prey fish, the lake has not been able to produce good numbers of the trophy-size mackinaw that pleased some anglers in the 70s and 80s.

Surveys indicate some anglers would like to see restoration of a cutthroat, bull trout and kokanee fishery, while others prefer sticking with lake trout. 

Another group of anglers pins hopes on the possibility of managing a balance of kokanee and lake trout. 

OUTREACH – A program to create an environment of healthy adventure for healing active-duty and veteran service members through paddle sports will be introduced on Monday.

The Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club is teaming with Team River Runner, a national nonprofit group, to open canoeing and kayaking opportunities for disabled vets, said Celene Olgeirsson, SCKC spokeswoman.

The program starts at 7 p.m. at Mountain Gear Corporate Office, 6021 E. Mansfield Ave., in Spokane Valley.

Info: ( 509) 209-3066

Safari Club sets 31st benefit banquet

OUTBID – The Inland Empire Chapter of Safari Club International will hold its 31st annual benefit dinner and auction Feb. 9 at the Mirabeau Park Hotel in Spokane Valley.

Info and tickets: (509) 993-3098, inlandempiresci.org.


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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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