North Idaho anglers win $1,000 lottery fishing for Pend Oreille walleye

Gordon Walleye Fish And Game Idaho

KOOTENAI CO., Idaho — Three anglers, including a man from Sandpoint and another from Hope, each won $1,000 in a Pend Oreille walleye lottery, by catching fish tagged with microscopic implants from Idaho Fish and Game.

The lottery has been running since March 2019, and has run for 15 months without any winners—and with folks finally back out on the water, the month of May alone saw three winners.

Idaho Fish and Game marked several walleye fish with microscopic tags. This program was started to encourage the harvest of these fish from Lake Pend Oreille and its rivers and streams.

Mike Gordon, who lives in Sandpoint, caught his reward-tagged fish in the Clark Fork River, and he said he knew that would be the one.

Tony Butler of Hope caught his in northern Lake Pend Oreille; Fish and Game reported that his fish had been tagged in 2018, and had grown five inches in those two years.

The third angler lives in Idaho Falls, but wished to remain anonymous. His fish had only been tagged a few weeks prior to being caught.

In order to win the lottery, anglers must turn in walleye heads to Fish and Game freezers around the area, and workers can identify any tags implanted in them. Fish and Game says there is no way to tell if a fish has the tags, as they are implanted in the fish’s snouts.

Each winner receives $1,000, and there are still 97 tagged fish left to catch. Anglers who submit fish heads, even if they are not the winners, are stilled entered in to monthly drawings for ten $100 prizes.