Avista's Management Committee has approved funding for the Lake Pend Oreille Angler Incentive Program and the Trap and Gill Net Program through March 2008.
The incentive program pays anglers $15 per fish for lake trout and rainbow more than 12 inches, with a head length of at least 2 inches. The Management Committee is a group of 27 stakeholders who manage the mitigation program from the utility company's two hydroelectric projects on the lower Clark Fork River.
New this year: rainbow trout caught in the lower Clark Fork River, below the railroad Bridge at the town of Clark Fork, and in Lightning Creek, Grouse Creek and the Pack River will also be eligible for the incentive award. The fishing season on Lightning Creek, Grouse Creek and the Pack River opens April 1 and closes on August 31; the lower Clark Fork River is open all year.
Anglers must fill out and sign data slips. They also must turn in the fish heads at one of the Idaho Fish and Game freezers at Hope Marine Services or Holiday Shores in Ellisport Bay; at Anchor Gas in Garfield Bay; or at the Hudson Bay Marina or the Fish and Game Research Office in Bayview. Payment is made twice a month through checks issued by the Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club.
"We are making good progress toward reducing predation pressure by lake trout," Fish and Game regional fishery supervisor Ned Horner said. "But anglers need to step up harvest on rainbow trout."
Trap netting will resume in Lake Pend Oreille in late March as part of the multi-pronged effort to prevent the kokanee fishery from collapsing. The spring netting effort will concentrate in the northern part of the lake and will run from mid-March through about mid-June. After that point, netting will resume in late August and continue through late November.
An effort will be made this fall to sonic tag up to 40 mature lake trout to better define spawning habitat. Locations and pictures of the deep water trap nets will be posted at access points so anglers can fish near the gear without getting hung up.
For more information on the angler incentive program, contact Chip Corsi or Ned Horner at Fish and Game in Coeur d'Alene at 208-769-1414. Learn more at the Fish and Game Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/fish/misc/pendoreille_cash.cfm.