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NY Times explores source of behemoth cutthroats

FISHING — After my post on a Spokane Fly Fishers outing to catch large Lahontan cutthroat trout at Omak Lake, I received an email from an angler who was surprised.

“When I lived in Omak in 1965-67, we waterskied there and as I remember the lake was very alkaline and nobody fished it,” he said. “Is it possible that the lake I remember is another lake?”

“No, it's the same lake,” I responded. “But you hit exactly on the reason it is stocked with Lahontan cutthroat trout, a species originating from the southwest and specially adapted to thriving in alkaline waters.  The Lahontan species also is stocked in Lake Lenore and Grimes Lake.”

By coincidence, The New York Times has just published a story recounting the successful effort to revive and preserve the Lahontan cutthroat's genetics originating from Pyramid Lake, Nev.

Note:  Check out the NYT photo of the anglers wading out with ladders to get out to deeper water while gaining a higher profile for longer casting.

Poachers caught with nets, 242 Lahontan cutts at Lake Lenore

UPDATED 11:41 a.m. with details of arrest from officer's incident report:

FISHING — Last night, a man at the Spokane Fly Fishers program asked me if I'd heard a fishing report from Lake Lenore.  I didn't have an answer for him, but I do today.

The fishing for large Lahontan cutthroat trout at the quality fishery is pretty darned good - IF YOU'RE POACHING with GILLNETS.

Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officers arrested four Western Washington men in the early hours of Saturday morning with 242 cutthroats seized in an illegal night-time netting operation at the prized Grant County lake.

The lake is managed as a “quality fishery,” attracting anglers who want to use single barbless hooks and no bait to catch-and-release large fish. Anglers are allowed to keep no more than one fish at day from Lenore.

Arrested were Vitaliy Kachinskiy, 23, of Mount Vernon and three Everett men: Sergey Otroda, 32, Igor Bigun, 26 and Oleg Pavlus, 25.

The Grant County prosecutor's office said today it has not yet begun processing the case.

“We have members of two ethnic groups involved with an annual thing of illegal netting that's causing great concern for our fish program,” said WDFW Capt. Chris Anderson in Ephrata.  “One group has been caught targeting mostly whitefish at Banks Lake and this group was targeting the big spawning cutthroats at Lenore. The 242 fish were just one night's catch. We're not sure how many nights or weeks worth of fish they've taken out of the lake.”

WDFW agents also nabbed two Spokane men from another ethnic group for similar illegal netting activity in January. One of the subjects threatened an arresting officer with retribution.

This is a huge bummer for fishermen. Not only do we deal with environmental issues that plague fish, but also with human pond scum that will do this to a fishery that means so much to anglers and the local economy.

Read on for the chilling details about the stake out and arrest. 

Video: 1947 diposal of sodium in Lake Lenore

FISHING — This archive video has been making the rounds for a few years, but it's worth bringing up for a little fishing camp banter now that the fishing for Lahontan cutthroats is picking up at Lake Lenore.

The 1947 newsreel shows the U.S. War Assets Administration using Lake Lenore as a disposal site for drums of sodium into the lake.

Lake Lenore is in Grant County south of Coulee City, Wash.  At the time of this newsreel, it was thought to be too alkaline to support fish.

Decades later, Washington fisheries biologists imported Lahontan cutthroat trout stock originating from the alkaline waters of Pyramid Lake, Nev.  The fish thrived in Lenore — as well as farther north in Douglas County's Grimes Lake — to provide a popular selective fishery for anglers.