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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Invasive Pike in Southcentral Alaska
What Can Be Done About Unwelcome Pike

ADF&G is working with the Alaska State Troopers' Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement to step up prosecution of people who illegally stock fish. The Alaska Board of Fisheries also relaxed Southcentral pike fishing regulations by allowing anglers to keep all the pike they catch, and by allowing different gear, such as spears and bowfishing.

In addition, ADF&G has a management plan for invasive northern pike in Alaska. The objectives of this plan are to:

  1. Increase public awareness of the problems with invasive pike.
  2. Prevent future pike introductions.
  3. Gain public support for management actions.
  4. Use scientifically sound management options to control or eradicate pike in Southcentral waters.
  5. Improve wild salmon and trout populations that have been reduced by pike.
  6. Resume the stocking of those waters that are no longer stocked because of pike.

This plan was developed through USFWS Nuisance Species Program funding and follows protocols for species-specific management plans established by the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.

Management Plan for Invasive Northern Pike in Alaska (PDF 1,236 kB)

ADF&G encourages public comment on this plan. Please send comments to:

Kristine Dunker, Fisheries Biologist
333 Raspberry Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99518
Voice 907 267-2889
Fax (907) 267-2401
kristine.dunker@alaska.gov

The Department is removing invasive pike through gillnetting and other methods. These projects tend to be labor-intensive and must be repeated every year to be effective. Netting will never eliminate pike completely. Young pike are most often found in very weedy areas, where fishing gear and nets are difficult to use, and pike must be moving to encounter the nets. Because pike are pretty sedentary when not spawning or feeding, catching all pike in a waterbody is highly unlikely. Still, there are cases where intensive gillnetting programs are the Department’s best option for keeping invasive pike populations in check.

pike in net people hauling net for pike
Netting is very expensive as well as time- and labor-intensive. Because the mesh must be small enough to let salmon and trout escape, netting captures only the larger pike, leaving smaller ones to breed.

The Department continues to investigate different methods of removing pike from Southcentral lakes. Currently, there are two effective methods to completely remove pike:

  • Draining ALL the water or
  • Applying a fish pesticide, such as rotenone.

Draining an entire lake may not be a realistic option for many lakes. Inlet and outlet streams have to be blocked or diverted. People with property around the lake are often very concerned about actions that raise or lower the water levels. In addition, the many required permits and processes greatly raise the expense and difficulty of draining the lakes that have illegally-introduced pike.

Rotenone, however, has been successfully used in fisheries management since the 1930s. Rotenone is a naturally-derived piscicide (fish pesticide) that has undergone rigorous review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has been concluded that rotenone does not negatively affect human health or the environment.

Still, the Department realizes there may be some concern about rotenone, and the Department is aware of those concerns. If rotenone is determined to be the best tool for removing invasive northern pike, the Department will fully engage the public decision-making process.

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