PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is offering $100 Visa gift cards as incentives for anglers who catch certain northern pike from Alexander Lake.
While northern pike are native in parts of Alaska, they are considered an invasive species in South Central.
In recent years ADF&G has focused suppression efforts on Alexander Creek, and the incentive program is geared at helping biologists know about the status of pike in Alexander Lake.
“There’s going to be a few things that we can get from this. First, we’ll get really good harvest data and catch rate data because both tagged and untagged fish will be coming in. Also with the data, we’ll be able to get rough population estimates for the lake and see how the elodea might be affecting that,” Parker Bradley, Invasive Species Research Biologist for ADF&G said.
This summer Alexander Lake was closed to sportfishing as a measure to keep elodea, and invasive and fast-growing waterweed, from being transferred to other bodies of water. Since the lake was closed, Bradley says that all the fish that were tagged should still be there.
Anglers can bring in either just pike heads or the whole body to the ADF&G office in Palmer on Mondays through April 13. Staff will scan the fish head and if it is a tagged fish, the angler will receive a $100 Visa gift card and be entered into a drawing for a $1,000 gift card. Up to 35 gift cards will be issued.
Although the department will have more information on the tagged fish, biologists will be collecting data on all fish that come in.
“A lot of this stuff is just pretty basic information that allows us to assess how successful some of our programs are. We’re doing suppression projects on the creek itself and it’s hard to measure success sometimes. Right now we’re doing that by looking at escapement counts every year and we’re seeing those increasing,” Bradley said. “Through our suppression efforts, we’re getting very good reports of fishing in the upper end of the creek toward the lake for rainbow trout, grayling, that type of thing. Better than people have seen in years, and we think it’s time to start putting some effort onto the lake itself.”
ADF&G says that anyone who wishes to participate in the northern pike incentive program at Alexander Lake must abide by all sportfishing regulations.
The lake is remote and requires either flying a plane or traveling around 40 miles one way on snow machine. There is much private property in the area, and the department asks that anglers be respectful of private property.
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