Idaho paid anglers nearly $9,000 for these non-native fish. This year, it’ll pay more

Idaho Statesman

Idaho Fish and Game announced last week that it would again reward anglers for helping it learn more about a potentially harmful invasive fish species — walleye that swim in the waters of North Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille.

Last year, the agency started a walleye lottery that could potentially pay out $50,000. Officials embedded microscopic tracking tags, invisible without special scanning equipment, in the snouts of several walleye. If an angler caught one of the fish and submitted the head to a Fish and Game freezer location, the angler would automatically receive a $1,000 reward. Non-tagged heads would each count toward one entry in a weekly $100 lottery.

“Unfortunately none of the $1,000 tagged fish were submitted last year,” agency officials said in a news release.

Still, Fish and Game received 785 walleye heads and paid out nearly $9,000 to anglers who won the weekly drawings. And the agency said it will improve the odds for anglers to reel in a $1,000 catch this year.