Chopping Off Walleye Heads? I Had No Idea

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.

30 Replies to “Chopping Off Walleye Heads? I Had No Idea”

    1. You’ve got that right Larry, delicious! Same complaint is in BC with Bass eating trout and salmon. There will never be an “all pleased” scenario.

      Thanks for commenting

  1. Invasive species! Chopping off heads! Kill and reward!

    Egad man! Is blood in the eyes of the beholder or dare I say, a homicidal atrocity is at hand?

    Okay, I have heard enough of this barbaric lunacy. We all know, once a fish species is introduced into the ecosystem, whether legally or in an unsanctioned manner, it is humanly impossible to reverse the process. No amount of whining and crying will alter the statistics. Playing a so called game of “tag” football ain’t going to cut it either. Idahoans are totally off their rocker on the subject.

    They, unlike the rest of us logically thinking anglers, may come to see the error of their ways in the near future. Then again, maybe not. To say, “This eradication of an invasive species is still done all over”, is actually an oxymoron in every sense. These Kokanee County killing machines will not be going away any time soon.

    Human nature as fouled up as it is, coupled with an unquenchable desire to control everything in our environment, even to the extent of destroying what God has given us, has been our greatest downfall.

    The best solution at this point would be to allow Mother Nature take the next course of action. Piling on with an obnoxious list of egregious action plans will undoubtedly fail miserably and cause irreparable damage to the environment.

    As for the Cormorant? We should have realized by now, there are very things on this planet that we can actually control.

  2. Salmon? In Idaho?…lol
    Where? In between the rows of the corn & potatoes fields.
    Is this a joke?
    Someone ought to tell these guys that walleye taste MUCH better that catfish…and is fishing ‘em is more fun than giggin’ frogs.

  3. It’s the same in BC as well where walleye have invaded the Columbia River from the US side. They are considered an invasive species there as well. However the BC gov’t is regulating the fishery somewhat. Anglers are limited to a catch limit of 16 per day per angler and from those I know who fish in the Castlegar area its quite easy to limit out. They are apparently very abundant.

      1. Thanks Spank, even at 8/day with that average size, the government has a dedicated kill-plan. Could you imagine a 16 fish limit????

        Don’t overestimate those “fish-counters”!

      2. You had it right the first time Spank..16 walleye a day and you can have a 2 day limit in possession…pike and bass are unlimited along that stretch to the Washington border as well

        1. Thanks Bd, just so I get it straight, you’re allowed 32 Walleye in the freezer per person? and unlimited pike and bass?? If I’m reading this right, that’s insane!

  4. The illegal introduction of a foreign species into an environment that it does not belong is an ecological crime, performed by extremely selfish people that obviously do not care about the damage they cause, as long as their desires are achieved. When it is possible to identify the individuals involved in this activity they should not only be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, they should be held financially responsible for any corrective measures and should be permanently exempted from obtaining fishing licenses anywhere in the world, and subject to massive financial penalties and jail terms if they fish illegally afterwards.
    As for what to do after the fact, should the “invasive” species be able to establish a viable population, I support a no limits and/or kill all you catch (if you can’t or wont eat them) policy. If the government deems the problem worthy of a bounty on the illegally introduced species, so much the better! The bounty could, in part, come from the fines levied against the person(s) that caused the problem in the first place.

      1. Definitely, as I said, ” When it is possible to identify the individuals involved in this activity…”. But chances are other people than those that are responsible likely know who did it, all they have to do is muster the courage(?) and social responsibility to come forward and report to the authorities what they know.

  5. Re: cutting off walleye heads – Well the proverbial cat is out of the bag as far as the invasive walleye go however as a Canadian living in Alberta and relatively close to those lakes I would love to go there and help the US government eradicate those nasty Walleye for free! Currently in S. Alberta the stocks of Walleye are so low it is impossible to fish them in most southern lakes this I am told by the CO’s is due to over fishing the species. So apparently unrestricted fishing may solve the issue or will it?

    1. Great point Bird, seems like when they don’t want over-fishing the numbers dwindle and when they do want over-fishing, they’re simply chipping away at a huge boulder. Odd…


    1. Hi Sophie, Ang and I actually have fished St Francis on many occasions. We fished the B1 Bass tournament there numerous times and as well have sampled the Walleye fishing. We also shot a Muskie show on Franny where we caught our two “personal best” fish not far from Lancaster.

      We 100% agree that St Francis is a phenomenal multi-species fishery.

  7. WOW , too much politics it seems just for fishing . If it’s considered invasive then cull it , simple , fish for more walleye . $1000 sounds good though .

  8. Small mouth and Pickerel are invading the Rivers and lakes Killing all the Speckled Trout and Land Locked Salmon on the East Coast, So I understand how people feel.

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