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Younger folks needed to keep stocking lake with fish


Do you enjoy fishing in Banks Lake? Do you know people who do? Do you recognize fishing as a part of culture in the coulee? Then maybe you’d like to volunteer to help keep that viable.

POWER, which stands for Promoters of Wildlife and Environmental Resources, is in need of volunteers, without whom they will shut down their fish-raising pens.

The organization releases 150,000 trout twice a year into Banks Lake from their feeding nets located in Electric City. That’s 300,000 fish annually released into the reservoir by the group.

Some of those trout are eaten by bass, walleye, and burbot, keeping those species thriving.

The fish find their way through Banks Lake, through canals all the way to Billy Clapp and surrounding lakes near Coulee City, where anglers both local and from far away enjoy hooking them and cooking them.

The organization is composed of several older gentlemen, most of whom are over the age of 80, who met last week. Younger folks are needed to take on some of the work.

At least eight people are needed to set up the nets, located in Electric City, with feeders and weights, twice a year. That work is done in October and in March and takes about four hours.

Once the feeders are set up, the fish need to be fed every other day — a two-person, half-hour job that involves pouring 50-pound bags of feed into an automatic feeder from the docks. Those volunteers also need to record the water temperatures, and report dead fish.

“If we don’t get volunteers, then we’ll disband POWER,” said Carl Russell who helped found the group in 1987.

The group stressed that the draw of fishing in our community could be significantly hurt if there are no longer as many fish to catch.

“The lake has a good reputation for big rainbow,” said Lou Nevsimal, of Coulee Playland. “If they stopped stocking them, it would no doubt have an impact on the local economy if the quality of fishing declined – not only for us, but campgrounds, restaurants and gas stations, as well. Fishing here is a huge part of the economy that affects the whole area.”

Those interested in volunteering their time should contact Russell at 633-0648, Bob Meeker at 206-795-6274, or Charlie Long at 633-1035.

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