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Northern pike (Esox lucieus)

Northern Pike

Lake Davis in the Plumas National Forest was poisoned in October 1997 with 60,000 pounds of powdered chemicals and 16,000 gallons of liquid chemicals, killing every fish in the 7-mile-long lake. The state Department of Fish and Game decided to poison the lake because it was infested with the voracious game fish called the northern pike (Esox lucieus). The pike is a toothy, bony, non-native fish that eats trout and salmon. But the poisoning was not the end of the story. The fish began appearing again in 1999. By May 1999, 36 had been caught at the lake. Officials believe rogue fishermen, who prefer the pike’s fighting ability once it is on the hook, planted the fish in the lake. State officials are worried the pike will migrate to the sensitive Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, next to the San Francisco Bay. The pike can easily begin destroying fish runs, such as the winter-run chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), currently a protected fish under the federal Endangered Species Act. Nevertheless, Lake Davis was stocked with 1 million trout in 1999 and tourists flocked to this trout-fishing haven. Biologists have considered local shock treatments to the water so pike the pike could be stunned and removed, but local residents fear that someday the lake will be poisoned again.

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