Tribal biologists surveying Lake Washington for walleye and bass populations caught a whole ‘nother, unexpected predator species last week.
A northern pike.
The young adult fish was captured in the Newport Shores area by Muckleshoot Fisheries staffers netting in an area where at least a dozen walleye were captured in 2015, also unexpectedly.
“Probably if there’s one, there are others,” says Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Aaron Bosworth.
Pike could be expected to eat the lake’s plentiful perch, juvenile bass, peamouth, suckers — and also its sockeye, Chinook and coho salmon smolts transiting through the lake.
It’s hard to say how long the pike would have been in the lake but it could have only been brought there illegally by bucket biologists, possibly from Northeast Washington, where state and tribal fishery managers are also battling invasive northerns in Lake Roosevelt and the Pend Oreille River system.
If there’s any good news, it’s that no more walleye have turned up in the tribal nets according to Bosworth. But still, this development is troubling for the future of the lake and its salmon fisheries.
Further back in my editor’s blog is an article outlining why the Muckleshoot Tribe is doing test netting Lakes Washington and Sammamish. I would hyperlink to it but this stupid smart phone doesn’t do that so well, plus I’m at the Sportsman Show.