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Biologists turn to poison to rid Alaska lake of invasive pike

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Because invasive northern pike have chomped their way through many of the native rainbow trout and arctic char in Stormy Lake on the Kenai Peninsula, the Alaska Department of Fish will shut down public access for a week beginning Sept. 3 to apply a poison deadly to fish.

Fish and Game biologists say the pike also threaten silver and red salmon as well as longnose suckers in the 240 square mile Swanson River drainage. They’ve decided using pesticide Rotenone is the best way of getting rid of hungry invaders in the lake near Nikiski.

Fish and Game describes Rotenone as a naturally-occurring compound commonly used to eliminate invasive fish species by targeting fish and other animals with gills. Fish and Game recommends that consuming fish exposed to the treatment is not recommended.

Four public sessions to gather comment on using Rotenone took place in May.  Restocking efforts should begin next spring.