Kootenai and Bonner Counties in the state of Idaho, are having a problem with walleye. In these areas, they are considered an invasive species. This struck me as a “really???” point since I thought everyone loved our Canadian treasured fish. That said, technicalities are the deciding factors.
If walleye (or any other fish species) are not native to an area or a waterbody and they are introduced in an unsanctioned or illegal manner, then they are indeed going to be classed as invasive. In the case here, the area has illegally introduced (non-natural) walleye that are eating the area’s natural Kokanee Salmon (with the possibility of other gamefish) which are, I’m to assume, a treasured game fish that has been established for many years. To locals, the new Walleye are simply put, Kokanee killing Machines.
The goal there, is to try and rid this area of Walleye. If locals catch one, they can cut off and deposit the head for the Fish and Game Commission to count and investigate. In this article, it states that the Fish and Game injected 50 tags into the heads of walleye before putting them back into Lake Pend Oreille. If a tag is found, the angler(s) will receive $1,000. A walleye bounty if you will.
As archaic as this sounds, this eradication of an invasive species is still done all over.
What stirs my interest most about this article though (please give it a read), are a few things.
Is the Government Going To Be Honest?
Will the Idaho Fish and Game be upfront and honest if they come by the tagged fish mentioned and pay the appropriate anglers? After all, with the tags hidden in the Walleye head, who will know except the Fish and Game people. And at a thousand buck a crack, some big money could be saved with the “execution” still taking place.
That said, I’m sure that a government agency would and will be honest. Let’s hope so.
Why Didn’t They Just Kill Em’?
If the Fish and Game had 50 fish out, why would they not just kill them and keep going instead of releasing them back in with a bounty? I do get that a large group of anglers can possibly catch more and money is always a good incentive, but professional groups like Fish and Game, can run nets, shock, or do whatever they feel necessary to capture invasive fish… and they can do it very effectively.
I Like This Kill and Reward Idea
If this can be done on fish, why the hell won’t they do it here in Canada on cormorants… but that’s of course, a different story!
Walleye Taste Better Than Kokanee (to some)
If Idaho only knew how delicious Walleye really were… your loss Idahoans!
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.