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Idaho Fish and Game


Annual walleye netting on Lake Pend Oreille will begin on April 10


Annual walleye netting on Lake Pend Oreille will occur from April 10-28

Spring 2023 will mark the sixth year of netting operations to help control the walleye population in Lake Pend Oreille.

Walleye gill netting operations run for three weeks every spring on weekdays only. Crews target walleye that are grouping up to spawn in the shallow, northern sections of the lake. Netting sites include portions of the Clark Fork Delta near Sheepherder Point, the Pack River Delta, Sunnyside area, Oden Bay, Kootenai Point and in the vicinity of the railroad bridge near Sandpoint.

While netting is occurring, anglers and boaters are advised to watch out for buoys on the water’s surface and recognize that each buoy is attached to approximately 1000 feet of net under the surface. Needless to say, hooks and nets don’t make the best pair, so it’s best to avoid fishing in these areas.

What about other fish species?

A question we are often asked is, “Aren’t other fish species captured and killed in the gill nets used to capture walleye?”

Although a variety of other fish species do get caught in the net, the survival rate of non-target fish is high and most are released in good condition. This is primarily because of the numerous preventative measures that are taken to minimize catch rates and mortality of these other fish species. 

Give the video below a quick watch for more detailed information and to see what the netting operation looks like on the boats.

Suppression efforts sustain the Lake Pend Oreille recreational fishery

Walleye were illegally introduced into Noxon Reservoir in the early 1990’s. Eventually they expanded downstream and became a new top tier predator in Lake Pend Oreille.

Five years ago, Fish and Game took steps to keep walleye at a low density in order to protect the kokanee population, which supports a popular fishery and is a critical food source for many fish species in the lake.  This benefits a wide variety of species such as rainbow trout, bull trout, cutthroat trout and smallmouth bass that are all susceptible to negative impacts from walleye.


Biologists use two techniques to manage walleye populations in Lake Pend Oreille – gillnetting and incentivizing angers to catch and keep walleye

Suppression efforts will not eliminate walleye from the lake; the species is here to stay. Instead, the goal is to keep their population at a low density to reduce their effect on other fish species that support the tremendously popular Lake Pend Oreille fishery.

Photo credit: Dennis Lydeen. Angler with a rainbow trout from Lake Pend Oreille
Photo credit: Dennis Lydeen. Angler with a rainbow trout from Lake Pend Oreille

How you can participate

Fish and Game encourages anglers to fish for and harvest walleye. There are no seasons or bag limits and the walleye incentive program is continuing for its fifth year.

Here is a fun fact. Walleye cruising the waters of Lake Pend Oreille are carrying about $100,000 in rewards. Always dream of getting paid to fish? Well, here’s your chance! 

Get all the details about the walleye incentive program on our Lake Pend Oreille Angler Incentive Program website.

Walleye harvested through the gillnetting program are donated to several local food banks.

For more information or if you have questions, please contact the Panhandle Regional office or visit the Lake Pend Oreille fisheries website.

You can also follow the Panhandle Region Facebook page to get regular news and updates.