Sure, the "Where's Waldo?" books are fun, but let's play a more fun (and potentially lucrative) game called, "Where's Walleye?"
Walleye in Lake Pend Oreille were concentrated around spawning locations in the lake and the adjoining rivers throughout the month of April.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists track acoustic-tagged walleye to learn more about their movements and to help anglers effectively target walleye and participate in the Lake Pend Oreille angler incentive program.
We have also developed an interactive map anglers can use to hone in on where walleye are in the system. Follow this link to access the map. Below is a screen shot of the map to give an idea of what it has to offer.
Anglers can find walleye distributed primarily in three areas known to have spawning activity. The greatest concentration of acoustic-tagged walleye was at the Highway 95 long bridge/railroad Bridge area near Sandpoint. This area and the southern shoreline towards Contest Point may be good areas to try as the water warms and post-spawn fish look to start feeding more aggressively. The City Beach Boat Launch in Sandpoint is now accessible for most watercraft at current lake levels.
The Fisherman’s Island and Sunnyside area at the north end of the lake was another walleye hotspot. Walleye spawn along this main lake point and should be accessible to anglers along main breaks until lake levels rise and fish redistribute throughout the bays at the north end of the lake. The Hope Boat Basin is the closest boat launch accessible for most boats at the current water levels. Once the lake level rises a bit more, Trestle Creek and the Hawkins Point launches will become accessible.
Another concentration of acoustic-tagged walleye is in the Clark Fork Delta and lower section of the Clark Fork River. These fish are still pre-spawn and will likely remain in the river until spawning is over.
The Clark Fork River warms more slowly than the shallow bays at the north end of Lake Pend Oreille because of flow driven by snowmelt upstream in Montana. Active tracking of tagged walleye in the Clark Fork River indicates a number of tagged fish remain in the holes between the mouth of Twin Creek and the log boom at Lightning Creek.
Anglers can access the river via the Avista Boat Launch along Highway 200 or the Derr Island unimproved launch along Johnson Creek Road below the log boom.
A note of caution for anglers hoping to access the Clark Fork River, a jet boat is advised to access the river as the lake level is still low and flows coming from Cabinet Gorge Dam fluctuate significantly on a daily basis.
Fish and Game has also implanted microscopic coded wire tags in the heads of walleye throughout the entire Lake Pend Oreille system. These tags are worth a $1,000 reward to anglers if walleye heads containing these tags are returned. To learn more about it and try your hand at becoming a big winner, click here.
If you’re interested in learning more about walleye fishing in Lake Pend Oreille, the angler incentive program and general information about walleye in the lake, Fish and Game has plenty of resources to help.
You can also visit the Idaho Fishing Planner to get information about diverse fishing opportunities throughout the state.