Cull of invasive fish pits biologists against anglers in Washington

May 15, 2013 at 3:44 PM
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USK, Wash., May 15 (UPI) -- Officials in Washington are waging a campaign against a non-native fish invading from the East but some anglers say they are opposed to the war on the species.

Biologists working for Washington state and the Kalispel Native American tribe say the northern pike, a voracious omnivore, is decimating native species like trout and salmon as it moves rapidly across the western United States by way of rivers and interconnected lakes, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

They are conducting a pike cull now entering its second year in northeastern Washington, focused on Box Canyon Reservoir near the Idaho border.

The program is drawing the ire of sport fishermen, who prize the toothy, spotted northern pike -- which can reach 55 pounds -- for its fighting ability and say the control efforts are unnecessary and have hurt local tourism.

Many say they are hoping to persuade officials to stop the pike kill.

"There's not going to be any fish left when they're done," John Campbell, owner of a sporting goods store in Oldtown, Idaho, said.

The war on the northern pike has crippled the region's once-thriving pike-fishing industry, Rich Lindsey, a fishing guide from Priest Lake, Idaho, said.

"We've had this stuff shoved down our throats," he said.

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