WDFW's Inland Fisheries Policies Advisory Group (IFPAG) consists of 15 people from around the state who represent fishing clubs, resorts and outdoor businesses, outdoor media, and other fishing-related interests.
A complete report of yesterday's IFPAG meeting in Cle Elum is posted on the Tiger Muskie forum. This is an excerpt from that posting that deals with the subject of WDFW's efforts to control northern pike in the Pend Oreilles River.
WDFW and the Kalispell Tribe are working together to reduce the northern pike population in the Pend Oreilles River. According to WDFW, "Northern pike numbers in the Box Canyon portion of the Pend Oreille River gew exponentially between 2004 and 2010, such that by 2011 the population was at a level which was unsustainable and inconsistent with WDFW conservation goals for vulnerable native species of trout, other game fish, and non-game fish. In addition, WDFW and KNRD* had growing concerns regarding downstream entrainment of northern pike into the Columbia River system and illegal introductions into adjacent waters." (From a WDFW handout distributed to IFPAG meeting attendees.) (* Kalispell Natural Resources Department)
George Allen, IFPAG member and president of the Spokane Walleye Club, commented that walleye anglers are catching 4-5 lb. pike "daily" at Kettle Falls and in the Spokane River. John Whalen said northern pike have gotten into Fish, Liberty, and Newman lakes in the Spokane area from illegal introductions. Bruce Bolding mentioned Fish Lake is slated for "rehabilitation" (i.e., rotenone treatment) this fall to get rid of the pike and other species, then will be stocked with trout.
Whalen gave a talk on the POR "northern pike suppression" program. WDFW doesn't believe pike can be eradicated from POR but hopes to reduce their numbers to 2004 levels (i.e., by 87% from 2011 levels) using a "three-pronged approach" of angler harvest, fishing derbies, and mechanical removal (primarily gillnetting during spring spawning season). Survey data indicate POR's pike population is declining in response to these efforts.
The 2012 netting was conducted between March 19 and June 23, and removed 5,808 pike weighing 18,597 lbs., ranging in size from 7 inches to 49 inches.