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Fish and Game targets Porcupine brook trout

| June 30, 2010 9:00 PM

CLARK FORK - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is trolling for public input on a plan to rid Porcupine Lake of brook trout in order to reduce threats to native trout species.

The deadline to comment on the proposal is today.

Non-native brook trout can out-compete native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout when the areas they occupy overlap, according to Fish and Game. Brook trout are also known to hybridize with native trout species.

The competing populations overlap in Porcupine Creek. Brook trout in the drainage largely come from an upstream source population in Porcupine Lake. Fish and Game contends those 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 conserve native trout species in the Lightning Creek drainage, Fish and Game proposes removing brook trout in the upper Porcupine Creek drainage and Porcupine Lake using rotenone, a naturally-occurring chemical that is poisonous to fish. Rotenone only affects gill-breathing animals, so impacts to the ecosystem are minimal, Fish and Game said.

The department plans to apply the piscicide in August.

Porcupine Lake has a long history as a recreational fishery and Fish and Game plans to restore fishing opportunities by stocking the lake with westslope cutthroat after the brook trout are removed.

Written remarks on the proposal should be directed to Rob Ryan at Fish and Game's Panhandle Regional Office, 2885 West Kathleen Ave., Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815. For more information, call (208) 769-1414.

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