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The Game Trail

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The Game Trail

Restoring a lake

Rain and bears seem to have been the theme this spring. The cool wet weather combined with a late frost have made bears search for food in alternate places such as our homes.  We can only hope that the huckleberries come on big this year or we will be fighting off hungry bears all summer. So please be prepared for the worst case scenario and bear proof your property. There is nothing more frustrating than one neighbor who decides they don’t care and ruins it for everybody within miles by rewarding bears through negligently leaving food sources unsecured. There are some interesting things happening in the world of Fish and Game besides bears though.  

Idaho Fish and Game fisheries biologists are planning a restoration on Porcupine Lake this summer. They plan on removing brook trout from the system to protect native fish. I know, brook trout can be fun to catch and are excellent fried up back at camp. However, in some places this non-native species poses a significant threat to the future of native trout. Brook trout can out-complete native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout when the areas they occupy overlap.

Porcupine Creek in the Lightning Creek drainage is one these locations where brook trout overlap with native fish. Brook trout in the Porcupine Creek drainage largely come from an upstream source population in Porcupine Lake. These fish not only create problems in Porcupine Creek, but also act as a source for distribution of brook trout to other locations in the Lightning Creek drainage.

To help conserve native fish in the Lightning Creek drainage, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is planning to remove brook trout in the upper Porcupine Creek drainage and Porcupine Lake. Porcupine Lake is located approximately five miles north of Clark Fork, Idaho. Take Forest Road #419 followed by Forest Trail #642 reach the area from Hwy 200. The project is entirely within Panhandle National Forest.

Brook trout removal would be accomplished by applying rotenone, a naturally derived chemical commonly used to remove undesired fish. Rotenone only affects gill-breathing animals, so the impacts to the ecosystem are very minimal. This treatment is planned for August 2010. To restore fishing opportunities after brook trout are removed IDFG is planning to stock Porcupine Lake with westslope cutthroat.

On another note, I need some help solving a case. In April 2010, large links of homemade ‘sausage’ were observed in the East Fork of the Lightning Creek drainage in Bonner County near Clark Fork Idaho. The ‘sausage’ links were on US Forest Service property.

Unfortunately, one of the links was picked up and quickly consumed by a pet dog while hiking with its owner. The animal died. Two other dogs have been reported and verified as poisoned through consuming poisoned meat links in the same area.

Additional samples found in the area were collected, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensics lab has determined the ‘sausage’ was laced with an insecticide known as Carbaryl. Due to the rural location of the insecticide laced poison, law enforcement officials believe that the person who placed it was targeting carnivorous wildlife. 

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, E.P.A criminal investigators, and the Idaho Department of Fish & Game are conducting an investigation. Investigators are interested in anyone with information regarding who may have made and placed the poisoned meat.

The public should be outraged not only because of the harm to people’s pets, but the threat to wildlife and more importantly people. The poison could have been consumed by a child, as it was placed right in the walking trail. Had that happened, we would be dealing with a human fatality. We need to catch the person responsible for this act and we are asking for help from the public.

There is a reward for information that leads to an arrest. As always, callers may remain anonymous. Information may be provided to the Citizens Against Poaching Hotline, 1-800-632-5999 or you call me directly at 208-946-0671.

Summer is here so let’s get those kids outside for some good ole’ fashion fun.  Remember to be safe and respectful of the bountiful resources we share in North Idaho.

Leave No Child Inside

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Author info

Matt Haag Matt Haag is an Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer.

Tagged as:

bears, huckleberries, Porcupine Lake, brook trout, poisoning

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