Davis pike a threat to other waters | SierraSun.com

Davis pike a threat to other waters

Bruce Ajari

The northern pike problem in Lake Davis received a reminder of the seriousness of the situation when the California Department of Fish and Game stopped anglers recently to check for the fish.

A number of anglers were caught in possession of the toothy creatures that have curtailed a once prime trout fishery.

While large trout may still be caught, the numbers of trout available to anglers is way down due to the surge in population of the pike. Recent surveys show that pike are now in charge of the lake.

The DFG is concerned that the pike could escape from Lake Davis ” located north of Truckee near Portola ” and get into the Feather River. Once there, they could make their way down to the Delta and threaten salmon, striped bass and steelhead populations.

The recent check of anglers was to see if anglers were complying with the rule of not possessing northern pike, dead or alive. Apparently, some anglers either have not gotten the message or are ignoring the law. Five pike, two which were alive, were found in cars or boats at two checkpoints.

The reason it is unlawful to possess a dead or live northern pike is because the DFG is trying to prevent these fish from being introduced into other waters.

According to the Fish and Game Code, “All northern pike taken shall be killed immediately by removing the head and shall be retained by the angler. The angler shall notify the Department that he/she has taken and possesses a northern pike by calling the Department’s CalTip telephone number (1-888-DFG-CALTIP) as soon as possible, but not more than 24 hours after taking the northern pike.

The angler shall maintain the head and body of the fish in a refrigerated or frozen condition, whenever possible, until the Department collects the northern pike.

Also, live fin fish taken under the authority of a sport fishing license may not be transported alive from the water where taken.

It is unlawful to place, plant or cause to be placed or planted in any of the waters of this state. Any live fish, any fresh or salt water animal, or any aquatic plant, whether taken without or within the state, without first submitting it for inspection to, and securing the written permission of, the department.”

This may seem like a lot of trouble for an angler to go through, but if it helps to rid the lake of these predators, we should all be in favor of complying.

The penalties for non compliance are harsh. Being caught with a pike can get you six months to a year in jail, a fine of up to $50,000 for each violation and the loss of your licenses, permits and fishing gear ” not to mention the possibility of being liable to others and for the cost of treatment and restoration.

It does not seem like it would be worth keeping the fish to me.

The Draft EIR/EIS regarding the eradication of the pike is being prepared by the DFG and the United States Forest Service. The expected release date is sometime this summer. A public comment and review period will follow with a decision expected in early 2007. Any eradication would most likely proceed in the late summer or fall of 2007, if that is the decision that is made.

Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.