BOISE, Idaho —
Walleye fish have been located in Lake Lowell and Lake Cascade, according to Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG).
IDFG said the fish is non-native, can be destructive to other fish species, and are only allowed in very limited locations across Idaho.
Last week, IDFG received a report of an angler who caught a walleye in Lake Lowell in mid-May. The angler was fishing for bass on the Caldwell Dam when he landed a 17” walleye, according to IDFG. It is the first-ever report of a walleye being located in Lake Lowell and comes after two other walleye were found in Southwest Idaho.
The angler threw the fish back, but took photos prior. After reading a recent press release about walleye being caught in Lake Cascade, the angler called and reported his recent catch, according to IDFG.
"We are definitely concerned with this report," said Art Butts, Regional Fisheries Manager. "Lake Lowell is one of the better largemouth bass fisheries in the state, and it produces some quality bluegill as well. Throughout the West, there are numerous examples of introduced walleye negatively impacting established panfish and largemouth bass fisheries, so this is something we will be monitoring closely."
IDFG asks that anglers report any unexpected walleye catches, and do not throw them back. Anglers who catch walleye in locations where they are not supposed to be are asked to kill, remove and report their catch to a regional office.
IDFG said anglers can keep the fillets, but are asked to save the carcasses and bring them to a regional office, or notify department staff and arrange for a pick up.
"We are particularly interested in those carcasses if anglers catch a walleye in Lake Cascade or Lake Lowell," Butts said. "But because we do not have any established walleye fisheries in the entire Southwest Region – and these fish shouldn't be present here – we would also like walleye carcasses if anglers happen to catch one in another waterbody."
Lake Lowell feeds into multiple canals, which could potentially provide walleyes passage to other fisheries, including the Snake River or Boise River, according to IDFG.
"While we did not see any walleye during our electrofishing surveys earlier in the spring, we will be doing some additional sampling in the next couple weeks to try and get a handle on the potential abundance of walleye in Lake Lowell," Butts said.
IDFG staff may also be able to determine from which body of water a walleye originated and determine whether the fish naturally migrated, or were illegally transported by an irresponsible angler.
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