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Last Catch Pike Tourney lures anglers to CdA

FISHING — September into October has long been known as a great month to go fishing for northern pike in the Idaho Panhandle, and the season is getting an added attraction.

The debut of the Coeur d'Alene Casino's Last Catch Pike Tourney is set for Saturday, Sept. 13, on Lake Coeur d'Alene and the chain lakes.

Boats will launch from Harrison in two waves:

  • 7 a.m. ending at 3 p.m.
  • 7:30 a.m. ending at 3:30 p.m.

Entry is $100 per two-angler team if purchased in advance through TicketsWest or $10 additional fee to sign up at launch site.

The event is sponsored by Cabela's and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, which would like to encourage more anglers to enjoy the fun of catching lunker pike while coaxing them into harvesting a few more of the abundant non-native species.

Here's the skinny on the tourney:

  • Two Person teams
  • Pays out 15 slots
  • Must be age 18 or older
  • No live bait; artificial lures only
  • Five fish creel
  • Bonus fish award for pike caught in Lake Cd'A's Windy Bay
  • No size limit
  • No boundaries
  • Obey lake laws
  • Two pole limit
  • Harvest only
  • Big fish prize
  • Fish from boat or land

Info: Tim Williams (208) 582-0701.

Pike fishing kicks off Mark’s Marine seminar series

FISHING – Jeff Smith of Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop in Coeur d'Alene will discuss fishing tactics for northern pike to kick off the 8th annual Mark's Marine spring fishing seminar series Thursday, 6:30 p.m., at 14355 N. Government Way in Hayden.

The other five free seminars to be held on Thursdays through April 10 will cover topics such as walleye, steelhead, Coeur d'Alene salmon, bass and Lowrance electronics.

  • Info: (208) 772-9038.

Smith has been a fixture on Lake Coeur d'Alene since 1984. He's been fishing our local lakes for more than 30 years and his Guide Service is one of the best respected and most versatile in the area. Unlike many guides, Jeff is a multi species fisherman. He is well versed in fishing for Salmon, Pike, or Bass.

His seminar is well-timed to help our Pike enthusiasts get ready for the fantastic spring pike fishing and of course the local Fins and Feathers Pike Tournament, April 26-27. Pike should begin moving as the water levels come up and Jeff will share his secrets for how to present bait to them and land those big catches. Several of the last 5 state records have been caught fishing during this period.

Colorado pike fishing issue similar to Pend Oreille River

FISHING — This story took me back to the Pend Oreille River about 10 years ago…

Northern pike have made their way into the Upper Colorado River
Utah has already put a $20 bounty on northern pike, the toothy adversary of a healthy trout population, and with a confirmed catch of the invasive predator—and, unfortunately, its live release into the Colorado River at Pumphouse Recreation Area, Colorado should consider a similar program to rid the waters of pike—which have no place in the Colorado River.

A column by Scott Willoughby, Denver Post; Aug. 7

Is selfishness a factor in Pend Oreille River northern pike debate?

FISHING — Some anglers share at least one trait with northern pike. They apparently wouldn't hesitate to eat their own kind.

Advocates of letting nature take its course in the invasion of northern pike down the Pend Oreille River seem to have little concern for the anglers downstream in the Columbia River.

While many anglers are enjoying the chance to catch pike in Pend Oreille County, state wildlife managers are concerned that increasing numbers and distribution of northern pike could impact vulnerable native species of trout, other game fish and non-game fish and even salmon and steelhead farther down the Columbia River system.

"That’s a big concern," said John Whalen, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department regional fisheries manager. "If northern pike start spreading down the Columbia River, they could create significant ecological and economic damage."

Perhaps pike advocates have not been paying attention to the decades of efforts and billions of dollars devoted to restoring salmon and steelhead runs damaged by hydropower projects. 

Do they know how much interest and economic impact has been generated by bringing back these fisheries from the mouth of the Columbia up to Chief Joseph Dam?

Other western states that have non-native populations of northern pike, are facing challenges similar to Washington. Although northern pike are native to much of Alaska, they are not native to the south-central part of the state where they have been illegally stocked and are considered invasive.

According to WDFW, pike have caused severe damage to native trout and salmon runs in several south-central Alaska watersheds and Washington is trying to learn from those events in order to prevent similar damage from occurring here.

WDFW is accept comments through Dec. 30 on proposed fishing regulations changes, including liberalizing the effort to reduce pike numbers in the Pend Oreille River.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will be hearing public comment on proposed fishing regulations when it meets Jan. 6-7 in Olympia.

The commission is scheduled to take action on those proposals at a public meeting Feb. 3-4 in Olympia.