Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks netted a northern pike in Placid Lake on May 8 during a fisheries monitoring survey, marking the first confirmation of this fish species in the lake and prompting FWP to propose an emergency fishing regulation.
Northern pike are not native to Placid Lake, and FWP believes that an established population could have a significant negative impact on existing fish populations, and particularly on native fish. To help answer questions about the northern pike population in the lake and inform a response plan, FWP is proposing a new emergency fishing regulation that will be considered by the Fish and Wildlife Commission at its May 28 video meeting.
If approved, the new regulations would require Placid Lake anglers that catch a northern pike to kill the fish, report the catch and turn the pike into FWP for analysis.
Data collected from anglers will help biologists detect additional northern pike in the lake and answer questions about their age, numbers, viability and origin. FWP believes that northern pike likely made their way to Placid Lake as a result of either an illegal introduction or through natural migration past the outlet dam.
Placid Lake contains abundant habitat for northern pike, so FWP believes there is a high risk of population expansion in the lake. The lake is a popular kokanee, largemouth bass, and westslope cutthroat trout fishery. Other native fish, including migratory bull trout, would also be negatively impacted by a self-sustaining northern pike population.
To view the Fish and Wildlife Commission agenda and video meeting where this proposal will be discussed and streamed live on Thursday, May 28, go to fwp.mt.gov and follow links to the commission.
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