Fish-raising program needs volunteers to continue


The fish-raising program that keeps Banks Lake supplied with trout is in danger of ending.

Carl Russell, who ran POWER (Promoters of Wildlife and Environmental Resources) for a number of years and is still active in the organization, said this week that volunteers are sorely needed to keep the program operating.

POWER releases some 150,000 fish twice a year into Banks Lake, making it one of the most popular and productive fisheries in Central Washington. All that could come to an end.

The group released some 150,000 fish into the lake in March and will receive another 150,000 fingerlings in the fall from state Fish and Wildlife hatcheries, if the program is still operating.

Russell said he plans to schedule a POWER meeting later this month so the organization can make a decision on whether it can continue. For many years, those who run the program have been getting older, but are not being replaced by younger volunteers.

Not only does the net-pen program provide good fishing for the general public, but it also is an economic booster for the surrounding communities.

“We can’t keep going if we don’t get volunteers,” Russell stated Tuesday.

POWER used to have enough volunteers that it could sponsor a Banks Lake cleanup day, gathering thousands of pounds of trash and litter from the shorelines.

POWER also had a game bird-feeding program in the communities nearby. The organization provided feeders and feed for individuals in the area to put out in the winter to help game birds make it through the winter.

Both of these programs were stopped for lack of volunteers to keep them going.

Russell stated that Coulee Playland has been “very helpful,” but additional help is badly needed.

The loss of 300,000 trout in Banks Lake would not bode well for the fishery and, accordingly, the local economy.

The lake also has an active fishery in walleye and bass.

The Star newspaper will publish the POWER meeting information as soon as the date has been set.

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