Friday, July 19, 2024

Looking for walleye in Lake Pend Oreille?

| July 10, 2024 1:00 AM

Lake Pend Oreille walleye are providing steady action for anglers this summer. Walleye are set up in their typical summer locations, and anglers are reporting consistent catch rates. Walleye also continues to be distributed widely throughout the system.

Since walleye telemetry began in 2019, biologists have observed a similar distribution of acoustic-tagged fish during the month of June. Walleye locations displayed in this map are from June 1 to June 28. Each colored circle represents the number of unique, acoustic-tagged walleye detected at a receiver between those dates. 

Walleye are now post-spawn and are returning to early-summer foraging locations along Sunnyside and Kootenai points, the south bank of the Sandpoint railroad bridge and in the Clark Fork River. Walleye are widespread throughout the north end of Lake Pend Oreille and both the Clark Fork and Pend Oreille rivers.  

The U.S. 95 Long Bridge and Railroad Bridge areas near Sandpoint continue to be walleye fishing hotspots, where the greatest number of acoustic tags were detected. 

Some of the tactics anglers report having success with include vertical presentations such as jig-crawler or jig-plastic combos, swimbaits and blade baits. Using light baits and fishing them slowly can be most effective this time of year. 

Finding the edges of weed beds, and locations where baits can be worked over the top of or through these beds can be important as walleye roam edge habitats looking for prey. Trolling crawler harnesses or deep diving crankbaits along the edge of weed beds is also effective at times of day when boat traffic is not as high. 

Due to low water levels throughout the spring, weed growth in Lake Pend Oreille is somewhat patchier than in years past, so look for broken edges of weed beds as a spot to troll or cast over.

The bays and points at the north end of the main lake such as the Pack River Delta, Kootenai Point, Kootenai Bay, Oden Bay, Sourdough Point and Fisherman’s Island also continue to hold multiple acoustic-tagged walleye. Fish in these areas can be caught along weed edges using the tactics described above, as well as trolling spinners and crawler harnesses on the outside breaks and weed beds. 

The lake level now sits at 2,062 feet, about half a foot below full pool. All boat launches and major access points are accessible to boaters. 

Idaho Fish and Game biologists tag walleye annually to keep about 100 fish with $1,000 reward tags swimming in the waters of the Lake Pend Oreille system. So far this year, anglers have earned over $5,000 by turning in walleye tagged with $1,000 reward tags. The reward tags are in all sizes of fish, so any walleye caught could be the next big winner!

Idaho Department of Fish and Game