July and August are excellent times to target walleye Pend Oreille Lake; in fact, successful anglers might claim they are among the best of times.
Similar to previous years, July and early August are on track to produce plenty of opportunities for anglers and plenty of walleye have returned to the angler incentive program.
To help anglers target them more effectively, locations of acoustically tagged walleye from July 14-28 are displayed on the map or accessible on line.
At a glance, anglers can notice that the July chart looks quite similar to the June chart. Some acoustically tagged fish remained in several popular spots near the long Highway 95 bridge and the railroad bridge area near Sandpoint throughout the early summer.
That doesn’t tell the whole story though. Although the number of walleye tagged near the bridges has remained stable, a number of these fish are new to the area or have also been active along other parts of the north shore of the lake over the past two weeks.
The same is true for some of the locations down the Pend Oreille River. Although some spots near Thama and Riley Creek still harbor a number of acoustically tagged walleye, some fish are different from those that were there last month; walleye is on the move!
The number of fish detected in Kootenai Bay, Oden Bay and off Sunnyside has decreased slightly since early June, but a high proportion of acoustically tagged fish are still found in these areas along the north shore. As shallow waters have warmed in recent weeks, some fish may venture further offshore where they are harder to detect.
A significant change in fish locations in July is that a number of walleye have moved up the Clark Fork River and can be found from the Clark Fork delta upstream to the Avista boat launch along Highway 200.
A motorboat is recommended for fishing the upper Clark Fork River, as the flow below Cabinet Gorge Dam can fluctuate rapidly within minutes, creating navigational hazards.
How about lake trout!
July and August are some of the most successful lake trout fishing months as these cold water fish are found below the thermocline where they feed on kokanee.
Lake trout are months away from spawning and there are already concentrations at some of the major points on the lake and shores near spawning sites. Evans Landing, Grouse Point, Windy Point and the break along the Clark Fork delta to Sheepherder Point have all had good numbers of acoustically tagged lake trout over the past two weeks. More fish counts and location information can be found in the table below.
Biologists track walleye and lake trout fitted with acoustic tags to learn more about walleye movements and to help anglers effectively target these fish and participate in the Incentive program for Lake Pend Oreille anglers.
To learn more about walleye and lake trout rewards and enter to be a top winner, check out the Lake Pend Oreille Angler Incentive Program on the Idaho Fish and Game website.
If you would like to learn more about walleye fishing in Lake Pend Oreille, the Angler Incentive Program, and general information about walleye in the lake, Fish and Game has many resources to help you.
You can also visit the Idaho Fishing Planner for information on various fishing opportunities throughout the state.
TJ Ross is regional communications manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.