Northern Pike in a portion of Lake Coeur d’Alene are being netted for research on reducing their impact on native cutthroat trout.
As many of the pike as possible are being transported and released elsewhere in the area so fishermen have a chance to catch them, said Jim Fredericks, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager.
“Though northern pike can have significant impacts to other fish species, they’re a resource valued by many anglers,” he said.
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe is experimenting with trap nets and gillnets to remove pike from around the mouth of Lake Creek, he said. “Tribal researchers estimate about 300 pike are concentrated in the area.”
The proposal to relocate live fish was supported by anglers at a public meeting, Fredericks said.
“Pike captured in Windy Bay, which is relatively remote and difficult to fish, are being taken to the northern part of the lake, near Cougar Bay where they are less likely to impact cutthroat trout and have a high probability of being caught by anglers,” he said.
Netting will continue through April. Researchers expect about two-thirds of the pike captured will be in good enough condition to tag, transport and release, he said.
“The tags will enable us to assess how many of the fish are harvested and whether or not they return quickly to Windy Bay,” he said, noting the project will continue for 3 years and be evaluated.
No large-scale pike suppression effort is being proposed, Fredericks said.
“This is a very specific activity designed to address a localized predation problem,” he said. “Ideally, we can maintain a relatively pike-free zone to help cutthroat trout, and do it in a way that doesn’t take away opportunity from pike anglers.”
Trapper Ed offered in CdA
A voluntary trapper education course has been scheduled in Coeur d’Alene for new and experienced trappers.
Idaho Fish and Game officials say the course is designed to promote safe and ethical trapping to minimize incidents of non-target catches and to minimize impacts of trapping activity on other recreationists.
Several pet dogs have been caught and killed in Idaho traps in the past year, prompting state-wide concern.
The two-session introductory trapper education class has been scheduled in Coeur d’Alene for April 17 from 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and April 18 from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Pre-registration is required on the Fish and Game Department website, fishandgame.idaho.gov.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.