Idaho Fish and Game to kill largemouth bass at Hawkins Reservoir
Largemouth bass in Hawkins Reservoir are threatening trout population and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game plan to cull all the fish in the pond later this month to get rid of the invasive species.
Regional Fisheries Manager David Teuscher said the bass were dumped in the reservoir illegally and not only do they compete with the trout for food, the bass also eat young, fingerling trout.
In a press release Friday, Fish and Game said a salvage order for Hawkins Reservoir is effective through September 26.
During the salvage order timeline at Hawkins fish may be taken by any method except use of firearms, explosives, chemicals, or electric current and all bag, possession, size, and number limits are lifted.
All fisherman still need a valid and current Idaho fishing license during the salvage period.
Teuscher said the largemouth bass were most likely introduced at Hawkins three to four years ago and today he estimates that there are tens of thousands of the fish.
“There are so many (bass) now that if you walk the shoreline, it is littered with bass,” he said.
He said largemouth bass at Hawkins reservoir now outnumber the trout by 100 to 1.
Fish and Game plants the reservoir, located east of McCammon, with rainbow trout and Henry’s Lake trout, a cutthroat, rainbow trout hybrid.
Teuscher said there are no reproducing trout in the reservoir and each year, fingerlings, trout measuring about three inches are planted in the fishery.
“We had largemouth bass that were introduced at another location and studies there show that almost every bass tested had a trout in their stomach,” Teuscher said.
Hawkins Reservoir will be treated on Sept. 27 and all remaining fish will die during that treatment.
Hawkins is also popular ice fishing destination and Teuscher said about 2,000 10- to 12-inch trout will be planted in the reservoir about two weeks later.
“The fish will have a chance to grow 1 to 2 inches before ice fishing starts,” Teuscher said.
Teuscher said it will be fall of 2017 before the reservoir will produce any sizable trout.
Jennifer Jackson with Idaho Fish and Game warns that it is illegal to transport live fish from one fishery to another without a permit.
For more information about this salvage order, contact the Idaho Fish and Game office in Pocatello at 208-232-4703.