|American Outfitters And Guides Association
| Priest Lake Idaho - Lake Trout
The Idaho Fish and Game Department is proposing Aggressive lake trout suppression in
Priest Lake, Idaho, including commercial netting to kill off the population!
The Priest Lake Lake Trout population does not need to be eliminated!
The overall fishery is robust and diverse. The new generations of fish are utilizing the prevalent
Mysis shrimp food base.
Lake Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Bull Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout and Spiny Ray
species all respond favorably to Mysis shrimp.
The Kokanee fishery has returned all on its own, as evidence from last years harvest shows.
The 2011 Kokanee spawn according to Fish and Game Representatives was the largest seen
since the collapse of the fishery in the 70s. The F&G officials counted over 20,000 spawning
Kokanee in the Fall of 2011.
The recent articles in the newspapers would have you believe that the Lake trout fishery is
about to collapse and that the Fish & Game says that the average Lake Trout is only 15 to 20
inches in length. Fish and Game representatives admitted that they were only sampling fishermen
that were fishing in the nurseries.
According to Professional Guides on Priest Lake who fish over 150 days per year and have
done so for over 3 decades, the average Lake Trout taken measure 22 to 28 inches!
The trophy fishery is still intact and produces many fish in the 15 to over 40 lb range
annually, which were caught and released. The most recent outings in recent weeks have
produced Lake Trout up to 48 inches! These numbers stand for themselves.
Why would you want to rid the lake of such an outstanding fishing opportunity for anglers!
Also, several Outfitters and Guides would loose their livelihood, and the surrounding
businesses will loose this important draw to the area.
Nowhere else in Northern Idaho can you find such an outstanding fishery as Priest Lake
is today! It should not be tampered with!
The Cutthroat Trout fishery is alive and healthy although the F&G won’t make that
public. The Cutthroat fishery is strong, but even so, it will probably never be opened for
consumptive harvest again.
Cutthroat Trout harvest is now closed throughout the entire panhandle.
The Smallmouth bass fishery is now healthy and a factor that must be addressed. The
Bass have a negative impact on the Bull trout recovery efforts as well as all the other
species in Priest Lake. In the very near future the Walleye will also become a negative
factor. Both species have and will enter through the lower priest river. We know the bass
have and no doubt the Walleye will follow.
Priest Lake is a very unique resource. Lake Trout are found in very few lakes in north
Idaho with Priest Lake being the western United States premier Lake Trout fishery! The
Lake Trout provide a high yield resource that cannot be duplicated anywhere else and
they are a very high quality table fish because of their Mysis shrimp diet.
The priest lake fishery is becoming a very diverse resource without reduction of any
species necessary, and it is a self sustainable high yield resource that needs no financial
maintenance. Where else can you go in the northwest and catch on a daily basis high
quality trout that will weigh an average of 3 to 10 lbs every day of the year and not have
to replace them with expensive stocking programs.
Almost every lake the public drives past to get to priest lake has the same fish,
( Kokanee and Cutthroat), that the F&G want to replace the lake trout with. Priest Lake
is the only holdout left that produces trophy Lake Trout!
Fisherman from every State and all over the world travel to Priest Lake for the sole
purpose of fishing for Lake Trout. We will loose this important tourist draw if this
suppression effort succeeds.
Leave the Lake Trout in Priest Lake alone, there are many people that like to fish for
If you are fishing at Priest Lake and don’t want to catch Lake Trout then fish for any of
the many other fish species that are readily available.
In the event that the Idaho Fish & Game Department decides to remove the Lake Trout
from Priest Lake, how many years will it be before the lake will once again have a
sustainable fishery comparable to the existing one now readily available to all anglers.
Even more importantly, at what cost?
TO KEEP THE PRESENT FISHERY WILL COST ZERO.
To remove Lake Trout is a very expensive venture, and time consuming.
HOW MUCH WILL THIS PROGRAM COST, AND HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE to
restore it with a sustainable fishery equal to the outstanding fishery it is today? 15,
MAYBE 25 YEARS?
If you kill the Lake Trout population, it is irreplaceable and will be lost forever!
Every situation is different. Lake Trout were introduced to Priest Lake way back in 1925
and it has been managed for Trophy Lake Trout and many Outfitters and Guides rely on
this for their living (not to mention the local business population). It is an AWESOME
fishery today! The F&G are trying to turn the clock back on something that really can't
be done. They need to preserve this, and concentrate on the many other lakes they are
still trying to revert, and haven't been able too. They don't have anywhere near the
information they need to kill off the incredible fishery that Priest Lake has become.
You can send e-mails and certified letters with the subject Discontinue Lake Trout
Suppression Efforts in Priest Lake to:
Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter
State Representative Eric Anderson
Idaho fish & game commissioners
396 Sky Meadow Rd.
Sagle, Idaho 83860
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