E-mail Story   Print Story
  Comments (2) Total Thursday Apr. 24, 2014
 
Plans Eyed to Remove Lake Trout in Flathead Lake
Tribes are creating a draft environmental impact statement to reduce numbers
POLSON – Anglers aren't catching enough non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake to make any headway in reducing the population, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes say.

CSKT fisheries biologist Barry Hansen tells the Missoulian that the lake contains about a million lake trout despite two fishing tournaments that that annually yank out 50,000 fish and another 20,000 removed with recreational fishing.

Hansen said that's about 13,000 below what's needed to see declines in the lake trout population.

As a result, the tribes are creating a draft environmental impact statement to reduce lake trout numbers with the objective of eliminating enough of the predatory fish to make the lake more survivable for native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.

Some options besides angling the tribes are considering include gill netting, bounties, commercial fishing and commercial netting. Those were suggestions made during a debate among five experts brought in by the tribes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"What the tribes did was take (the comments) seriously, and work with a team to prepare a panel of experts to evaluate them," Hansen said. "We boiled the concerns down to six hypotheses with a goal of gathering all the information we could to support or reject them."

The panel said that lake trout group in specific areas, but fan out to areas less suitable as the population expands.

Anglers focus on the areas where the lake trout congregate.

"They learn where those concentrations are," he said. "Even as the population decreases, the fish that have been forced into less-optimal habitat will move into higher-quality habitat and maintain the densities there."

The yearly Spring and Fall Mack Days tournaments could be eliminated, the tribes said.

"The prospects for future contests will be determined by the outcome of the Environmental Impact Statement to be completed this spring," CSKT said at its Mack Days website. "The EIS was only initiated because we determined that Mack Days alone was not sufficient to meet the goals of the (Flathead Lake and River Co-management Plan). Therefore if none of the 'action' alternatives is chosen Mack Days would end because the monetary investment would no longer be justifiable."
 
On 02-25-13, Craig moore commented....
The suggestion to commercially fish the macks seems to be the heart of the suggest… along with eliminating Mack Days.  It’s about money and who gets it.  I wish those biologists would address the pike, perch, and bass that have been illegally introduced and clean out many shallow
 
Kellyn Brown
Kellyn Brown8h
@kellynbrown
Former pro skier has plans for an academy for young adults looking to train in the outdoors http://t.co/YFOI9pdVVf http://t.co/R8NCamjqUD
Dillon Tabish
Dillon Tabish3h
@djtabish
Young Lakers eager to prove themselves this legion baseball season http://t.co/0kqbOczmeK #mtscores http://t.co/D5jukSZQJt
Molly Priddy
Molly Priddy4h
@mollypriddy
@Slate Jealousy?
Tristan Scott
Tristan Scott4h
@tristanscott
@hike734 Thanks, Jake!
Flathead Beacon
FB Headlines2h
@flatheadbeacon
NRA Seeks Universal Gun Law at National Meeting http://t.co/774jGB5cYS