Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Upper Columbia Trout Fishery Vs. Non-Native Walleye

Upper Columbia Rainbow Trout Photo: Jack Mitchell

I admit, I have never fished the Upper Columbia for trout, but when a buddy points out some interesting points about impacts from non-native species on what I have been told is one of the best trout fisheries in the state, I had to read more. On December 15th, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will no longer be taking recommendations for rule changes for the daily bag limit for walleye in the Lake Roosevelt and the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt. As a rule change that can effect the population of native species in this area, I think it is wise to chime in for the benefit of our native fish.

According to those who know this fishery, the population of introduced walleye have moved from foraging, peamouth chubs, whitefish, pikeminnow to rainbow trout. Though I enjoy fishing for warmwater species, the impacts on our native salmonids have always brought an interest in regards to their impact on the ecosystem. Without predation on this new invader, the ecosystem itself changes and with that impacts all species in that food chain. Though I do not believe there are enough studies to defend this debate either way, I wrote a letter to WDFW in support of liberalizing the bag limit of walleye to unlimited harvest. These are non native fish and time wasted not helping our native fish may lead to an obvious negative impact for this fishery in the future.

Please take a few minutes and voice your opinion to WDFW, and read move courtesy of the Upper Columbia Flyfisher.

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