Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Barker: Do your part to save the salmon — eat more walleye

Eric Barker
By Eric Barker Lewiston Tribune

LEWISTON – I’m thinking of starting a new bumper sticker campaign and accompanying movement – “Save a Salmon, Wack a Walleye.”

Yes, it’s a ripoff of the “Save an Elk, Shoot a Wolf” sticker that you’ve surely seen on any number of pickup trucks in Idaho.

Like wolves, walleye are predators and fisheries managers and some anglers fear their increasing presence in the Snake River upstream of Lower Granite Dam is bad news for salmon and steelhead. Just like wolves, walleye are controversial.

They are a popular game fish throughout the country and some anglers are happy to have them here. When the Idaho and Washington farm bureau federations announced they would hold a “Farmers for Salmon: Walleye Jackpot” near Lyons Ferry this month, some anglers freaked out, according to a report from the Northwest Sportsmen’s Magazine, The report is available at The idea of the event was to bring anglers together to catch and keep a bunch of walleye. Many walleye-loving anglers complained to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and asked if the event violated state fishing regs. The agency ultimately said the proposed jackpot was structured in a way so as not to violate its rules on fishing contests.

Even so, the sponsors opted to cancel. It’s too bad, in my opinion. I’m not convinced anglers, without some sort of incentive similar to the Sport Reward Program that pays people to catch and kill northern pikeminnow, can significantly affect the abundance of walleye in the Snake River upstream of Lower Granite Dam.

But it’s worth a shot and I intend to give walleye fishing a go. After all, unlike wolves, walleye are fine eating. The idea that the more of them I eat, the more I’m helping native salmonids is pleasing to me.

Walleye are fine in waters where they don’t add to the towering stack of things that harm salmon.

Those interested in walleye fishing, whether they want to fill a freezer and help salmon or they prefer to catch-and-release, can turn to local experts. John Snaza of North 40 Outfitters has been fishing for walleye for decades and is keen on passing on his knowledge. Many local fishing outfitters offer walleye fishing trips. Employing a guide is a wonderful way to learn.

So join me if you like and send me your best slogans. Here’s a few to get you started. “Walleye: Smoke a Stringer a Day.” “Walleye CCC: Cast, Cook and Consume.”

Barker is the Outdoors editor of the Lewiston Tribune and may be reached at