For most fisherman, the notion of getting paid to fish is a pie-in-the-sky dream. For five lucky anglers on Lake Pend Oreille, that dream recently became a reality. During May and June 2023, each of the five anglers caught and turned in a reward-tagged walleye from the lake, earning them each a payout of $1,000. You read that right, a thousand bucks each!
Chris Lewandowski from Bonners Ferry has been fishing for walleye on Lake Pend Oreille for almost a decade. His first walleye trip of 2023 yielded more than just a gallon bag of walleye fillets.
“I had a feeling I was going to win something, but when I got the call that I had won $1,000, I was in disbelief and shock, to be honest,” said Lewandowski.
Lewandowski’s winning fish was one of six he caught that day. “I love to fish, especially with my family. When you can catch a really great tasting fish and win money on top of that, that is a pretty good deal,” he said.
Lewandowski learned about the Lake Pend Oreille angler incentive program a few years ago; he had turned in lake trout heads before, so he knew the drill.
“It’s really cool that anglers on Lake Pend Oreille get to actively be a part of managing the different fisheries in the lake, including walleye,” said Lewandowski.
He hasn’t spent his winnings yet; however, he has been considering getting a new pontoon boat, so the money will likely go toward that purchase.