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Idaho Fish Report

ODFW to host public meetings on plans to treat Heart Lake

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

LAKEVIEW, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host public meetings in Lakeview and Klamath Falls on Aug. 24 and Aug. 25 to outline plans to remove brown bullhead and fathead minnow from Heart Lake in order to improve the trout fishery.

The Aug. 24 meeting in Lakeview will begin at 6 p.m., at the ODFW office at 18560 Roberta Rd. The Aug. 25 meeting in Klamath Falls will begin at 6 p.m., at the Fairgrounds in the Linman Hall at 3531 South 6th St.

At both meetings, ODFW staff will describe plans to treat Heart Lake with rotenone in September to remove illegally introduced brown bullhead and fathead minnow that are having a negative impact on the trout fishery.

According to Justin Miles, ODFW fish biologist in Lakeview, stocked fingerling rainbow trout have steadily declined over the past five years. "Fingerling and legal-size trout could not put on enough weight to survive the winter, primarily due to competition from brown bullhead and fathead minnow for food," added Miles.

In recent years, the agency has stocked an increasing number of legal and trophy-size fish in order to provide a quality fishery. Fingerling trout are an economical way to stock trout, especially in a productive water body like Heart Lake. By removing the brown bullhead and fathead minnow, Miles hopes the fingerling fish will have a better chance to reach legal-size.

ODFW chose to treat the lake with rotenone because it is an affordable and effective way to remove unwanted fish with little threat of long-term ecological damage. Rotenone, a plant substance, has been approved as a fish toxicant by the Environmental Protection Agency. At the concentrations used to kill fish, rotenone is not toxic to human, other mammals or birds. It breaks down completely in the environment and will not be detectable within weeks after treatment.

For more information about rotenone go to the ODFW website at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/local_fisheries/diamond_lake/FAQs.asp.