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Field reports: Meetings set to consider Priest Lake fishery management

Since the 1980s, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has managed Priest Lake as a lake trout fishery, focusing on native fish conservation in Upper Priest Lake.

In 2012, IDFG conducted scoping to determine if the existing fishery was still desirable. The public was split on whether they wanted to maintain the existing fishery or attempt to restore a traditional kokanee fishery.

In 2013, IDFG formed the Priest Lake Fishery Advisory Committee. The group has met regularly over the past several years and worked with IDFG to develop three management alternatives for broader public input.

One option is to maintain existing management, which favors lake trout in the main lake. A second option is focused on enhancing kokanee, westslope cutthroat trout, and bull trout, which requires managing against lake trout in the main lake. The third and more challenging alternative would attempt to strike a balance that allows all species to be present at fishable levels.

Public meetings are scheduled to discuss the options and solicit input from the public.

  • July 13 at 6:30 p.m. at The Inn at Priest Lake in Coolin;
  • July 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Priest River Events Center;
  • July 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the IDFG Panhandle Region Office in Coeur d’Alene.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting Andy Dux at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game directly at (208) 769-1414, or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1‑800‑377‑2529 (TDD).

There will also be opportunities to provide input for those who are unavailable on the dates of these meetings. Future news releases and the IDFG website will provide details on how to provide comments.

Tiger trout records falling at Deer Creek

State records for tiger trout have been falling at a dizzying pace at Deer Creek Reservoir.

For now, Rick Miller of Orofino is state champ. He set the mark on June 10 during a fishing derby with a 19-incher that weighed 2.65 pounds.

Prior to the derby, the state record was 17.5 inches, and organizers of the derby had high hopes it would fall during their tournament. They were right to have such confidence.

Early in the derby, a 17.6-inch tiger trout was caught and it looked like it had a chance for the books. But before official paper work could be filed, another angler landed an 18-incher and was in line to be fitted for the tiger trout crown.

Then, in swooped Miller, a chief deputy of the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office. He caught a bigger trout while trolling with a lure — the make and model of which he is keeping secret.

His fish would last the day as the biggest ever caught in the state, and as of now remains the official record.

“I don’t think it’s going to last very long,” Miller said.

38th annual Pend Oreille Poker Paddle

The Pend Oreille Poker Paddle is an annual tradition held by the Newport Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s event will be held on Aug. 5 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Meet new friends, win prizes and enjoy a relaxing paddle down the Pend Oreille River Water Trail. Register at newportareachamber.com/poker-paddle.

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The basketball court at the McCarthey Athletic Center is photographed before an NCAA college basketball game between Gonzaga and BYU, Feb. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Young Kwak) (Young Kwak / AP Photo)

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