WDFW Removes Invasive Northern Pike from San Juan Island and Lake Washington 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has successfully removed 22 northern pike from Carefree Lake on San Juan Island, following a recent illegal introduction of this invasive species. Additionally, the WDFW removed two northern pike from Lake Washington during March and April 2023. These efforts are part of an ongoing strategy to monitor and reduce the impact of non-native predatory fish species in Washington's waterways. 


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Threats Posed by Northern Pike 

Northern pike are known for their aggressive predation, which can severely impact local ecosystems and pose a threat to endangered salmon populations. As a result, the WDFW urges anglers who catch northern pike to kill and report the catch immediately to prevent the species from spreading further. The agency has received $700,000 in supplemental funding to help control predatory fish in Lake Washington, with a particular focus on non-native species that endanger young salmon. 

Steps Taken to Control Invasive Species 

WDFW is taking several measures to combat the threat of northern pike and other invasive species. These efforts include netting by WDFW crews and coordination with local conservation groups. In extreme cases, such as in Carefree Lake, the agency is considering draining the lake to eliminate the invasive population. WDFW also encourages the public to report any information regarding how northern pike were introduced to San Juan Island and Lake Washington. 


Coordinated Statewide Response 

To address the broader threat of invasive species, WDFW has finalized a statewide Interagency Northern Pike Rapid Response Plan. This plan involves coordinated efforts with tribal and state agencies to safeguard Washington's aquatic ecosystems while promoting sustainable recreational and commercial fishing activities. Through these joint actions, WDFW aims to protect the state's natural resources and maintain ecological balance. 

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