Volume 1, Issue 2, February 2015 - Page 24

Regional Reports


This month's regional report for the Northwest is brought to us by Scott Estes, President of the Washington Bowfishing Association (WBA)

(photos courtesy of Scott Estes)

Little help here please...

Everyone needs a little help now and then, whether we want it or not. In some cases we don’t know who might to come to our aid, but we are grateful for the assistance.

This was the case in the fall of 2014 when the Washington Bowfishing Association (WBA) was contacted by the Mount St. Helens Bass Masters, who were in need of a little help. It turns out that one of their premier lakes, Silver Lake, is progress-ively becoming more and more burdened by poor water conditions. “We have a carp problem and we need a solution. I think the solution is bowfishing.” said Don Randolph, Conservation Director for the bass club.

Silver Lake is located on the west side of Washington State, nestled amongst the Cascade

Mountains, only 30 minutes from Mount St. Helens. For generations Silver Lake has been western

Washington’s trophy bass lake. However, in the early 1990s the lake became riddled with invasive, aquatic vegetation, making the lake almost completely unusable. In 1992, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) planted 85,000 Triploid Grass Carp (roughly 50 fish/acre) to combat this overwhelming vegetation.

Today the lake is void of nearly all vegetation, except for lily pads. Attempts have been made to remove the grass carp from the lake, but sunken trees, debris from the 1980 explosion of

Mount St. Helens, and the potential to damage native fish populations have kept the WDFW from succeeding with their usual solutions. Even though grass carp are illegal to harvest recreationally in Washington state, bowfishing was now seen as a viable option.

After six months of describing the equipment and tactics of bowfishing to WDFW biologists, a few WBA members were given the opportunity (a permit) to head to Silver Lake to “arrow and line” sample for grass carp. Our goal was to assess the grass carp population, as well as obtain scales for aging studies, and man was it fun!!!

Although shooting was typical for January, and we

ran into some nighttime fog, the project was a huge

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WBA President Scott Estes with a Silver Lake grass carp

Thanks to an invite from the Mount St. Helens

Bass Masters, and a special permit from the WDFW, members of the WBA lined up to help with the Silver Lake grass carp removal project on a beautiful January day.