People fish Lake Cascade for smallmouth bass and perch. But last week, an angler reeled in a species that isn’t supposed to be there: an adult walleye. It’s the first-ever confirmed report of a walleye in the manmade lake.
Idaho Fish and Game says someone must have stocked walleye in the lake – and that’s illegal. It’s a popular fish in Midwestern states, for both commercial fishing and for sport. But Fish and Game doesn’t stock walleye in many fisheries.
According to a press release, the agency says they get requests every year to add more locations for the non-native fish. But because of the danger walleye poses to existing and native fish populations, they deny these requests. The reservoirs where they do stock walleye are all enclosed and monitored closely.
The department plans to divert funds from other projects to expand monitoring in Lake Cascade, so they can figure out whether the species has reproduced. Biologists are concerned that the walleye could make their way through the Payette River; water in the reservoir is released for farmers every year. The group Citizens Against Poaching is offering a cash reward for anyone who might have information about the case.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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