Phillips Lake answer: Tiger muskies
To the editor:
I read the several articles about the restoration of Phillips Lake to its previous condition of being a premier trout fishery. Numerous were the comments and desires to poison the lake with rotenone. The problem with that is that the ODFW doesn't want to spend the money. Why should they go to the effort? Some moron would just drop a bucket or several of perch and the problem would be back. Oh, wait a minute that's why Phillips Lake is screwed up like it is. You've got to love those bucket biologists!
Now I'm not a wildlife biologist, let alone a fisheries biologist. I do believe there might be an avenue that ODFW is unwilling to pursue. Consider planting Tigermuskies in Phillips Lake. The Tigermuskie is a hybrid of the northern pike and muskie. It is a sterile fish which means it will not reproduce and have a negative impact on any other species in the downstream fisheries. It has successfully been used in Utah and several states in the Midwest. Again, I'm not a fisheries biologist, but Tigermuskies are a natural predator, not a poison that works indiscriminately. They could be planted with a catch-and-release restriction.
ODFW has, as I've been told, a problem with nonindigenous species. If that is true why is there no effort to rid the Snake River of catfish, bass or any other warm water fish? Expand this argument why is there an effort to control the harvest on pheasants, chukars or even mountain goats in the Elkhorns. None of the species are indigenous to these areas. I am very glad to see these species thrive in these areas and support ODFW's efforts to expand their numbers.
The situation with Phillips Lake is another matter which I believe can be addressed easily. Make a few trades with other states for desired species and dump a few thousand Tigermuskie in Phillips Lake. They won't last forever, they'll consume most of the perch, they will be a new species to fish, they don't reproduce and it would not poison the environment. Then maybe Phillips Lake will return to the quality trout fishery it use to be when I took my son out and had so many great memories.
It's sad to sound that old line, "I remember back in the old days ..." Why can't we have those days now?