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Fish and Game pays big for big fish

by T.J. ROSS / Contributing Writer
| October 19, 2023 1:00 AM

In recent years, Lake Pend Oreille has been producing more rainbow trout over 20 pounds than anywhere else on Earth. This world-class trophy fishery is firing on all cylinders right now, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is working hard to keep it that way.

Fish and Game monitors the rainbow trout population and angler fishing success to effectively manage the trophy fishery. However, it’s hard to get all the information needed through traditional fish survey methods.

This is where local anglers come in — Fish and Game needs help and is inviting fisherman to participate in an Angler Science program to help gather information that will help Fish and Game manage the trophy rainbow trout fishery.

The Lake Pend Oreille Angler Science Program is made up of anglers who collect monitoring data for fish in Lake Pend Oreille, mainly through completing logbooks and reporting tagged fish.

To-date, Fish and Game has learned some important information from the angler science program. For example, catch rates were higher in 2022 than in 2021, and rainbow trout over 30 inches continue to make up more than 15% of the catch.

To sweeten the deal, anglers can win great prizes by participating in the program.

What you can win

By participating in the program, anglers will receive a custom Lyman lure and sticker. In addition, they will be entered into a free raffle for the following prizes:

• Yeti Tundra 45 coolers

• Bubba electric filet knives

• Work Sharp electric knife sharpeners

• Custom Yeti 20-ounce tumblers

• Custom trucker hats and beanies

• LPO rainbow trout logbook prizes

How to participate

Complete a fishing logbook — Anglers must record information while fishing for rainbow trout on Lake Pend Oreille during two local fishing derby times, Nov. 1-5 and Nov. 18-26.

There will be a free raffle with each derby for participants who submit their logbooks by Dec. 10.

Rules for the raffle are the same as previous years, but logbook pick-up locations have changed. Logbooks will be included with the purchase of all derby tickets.

Free logbooks can be picked up at the Panhandle Regional office at 2885 W. Kathleen Ave. in Coeur d'Alene to record information without participating in the derby. Visit idfg.idaho.gov for more information.

Report tagged rainbow trout

To better understand rainbow trout catch rates, harvest rates and survival rates, Fish and Game is conducting a tagging study in Lake Pend Oreille.

Fish and Game asks that anglers keep an eye out for tags on the backs of rainbow trout. Each tag has a unique number printed on it, as well as a phone number, URL and reward value (on select tags only).

Tags can carry a reward value of $25, $50, $100 or $200.

Report the tag number and location of the catch to Fish and Game.

Please contact the Panhandle Regional office at 208-769-1414 if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the angler science program on Lake Pend Oreille.

T.J. Ross is a regional communications manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.