Lake Frogs in the Northwest

Slimy, squirmy frogs—most kids love to find and catch frogs. Green and Sierran tree frogs and Columbia spotted frogs are common species found in or near many Inland Northwest lakes and ponds.

“If you do catch a frog, be gentle and look at it for a short time. Then release it back to where it was—do not move it to a different body of water or pond,” says Round Lake State Park manager Mary McGraw. “Do not take it home as a pet.”      

Visitors to Round Lake can pick up educational loaner backpacks at the ranger station visitor center that contain information for learning about the local natural resources. “This is a great way to learn how to protect our natural surroundings and why it is important to protect the native plants and animals,” McGraw says.

One species of frog that you can keep are the non-native American bullfrogs. In fact, McGraw says, “If you catch a bullfrog, please remove it from the water and destroy it. One positive side is bullfrogs are commonly eaten.” Yes, frog legs for dinner!

Bullfrogs are North America’s largest frog and legal to hunt in the Northwest. No permit is required in either Washington or Idaho. Consult state regulations to learn how to identify this invasive frog and know the difference between a bullfrog and any protected non-game species, such as the northern leopard frog.

Lake frogs: Hunting for bullfrogs is legal (and highly encouraged!) in Idaho and Washington States. // Photos courtesy Washington State Department of Fish and Game.

Find more stories about wildlife in the OTO archives.

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