Idaho’s bull trout populations are generally in good shape and capable of supporting some great catch-and-release fishing.
Fishing has long been one of the main attractions on Priest Lake and Upper Priest Lake. However, fishing at these scenic lakes has changed a great deal over time.
Historically, the fishery was supported by three native sport fish, westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout, and mountain whitefish. Fishing for cutthroat was the most popular throughout the early 20th century.
Native Bull Trout and Westslope Cutthroat have been the target of Upper Priest Lake anglers throughout history. These native species continue to provide good fishing opportunity, but not without some assistance. Since the early 1990’s, non-native Lake Trout have been present in Upper Priest Lake. Lake Trout generally compete with or prey upon Bull Trout and Westslope Cutthroat. This results in weaker populations of these native species.
Priest Lake anglers can expect Kokanee fishing to be similar to what they found last year. Idaho Fish and Game Kokanee monitoring efforts suggest Kokanee numbers remain low, but the fish that are caught should be good sized (likely 14-16"). Although a small increase in Kokanee abundance was observed between 2011 and 2013 in Priest Lake, the upward trend hasn't continued in recent years.
The Lake Pend Oreille "State of the Lake" public meeting is held annually. This year the meeting is set for Thursday, March 30th. Idaho Fish and Game staff will give a presentation summarizing fisheries information and activities related to the Lake Pend Oreille fishery from the past year. Time will be provided afterwards for question and answer. Anyone interested in the Lake Pend Oreille fishery is encouraged to attend. We hope to see you there.
Meeting details are as follows:
WHEN: Thursday, March 30th, 2017 from 6-8pm
The snow is starting to fall in the Upper Salmon Basin marking the end of another irrigation season for the fish screen shop and our partners in agriculture. This summer 265 fish screens scattered across the Salmon River basin kept hundreds of thousands of fish from being diverted into irrigation ditches and farm fields.