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Voracious Northern Pike can grow huge, and they will eat anything – their own young, other fish, even mice and baby ducks. Their population in Lake Roosevelt, the reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam, appears to be growing. Not good news, particularly if pike spread downstream into salmon territory.

In 2014, in a report to the Northwest Power Council biologists stated Pike had been found in the Kettle River, a northeastern Washington tributary of the Columbia River, a sign that they are continuing their downstream migration from lakes and rivers in Idaho and Montana. What’s worse, the pike found in and near the Kettle River were several different ages, indicating the species is breeding and proliferating.

That is bad news for the Columbia because if pike keep spreading downriver they could wind up below Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams where they could prey on threatened and endangered species of salmon and steelhead.

Council staff reported in July that between June 29 and July 3, 21 adult pike were captured at five locations around the mouth of the Kettle River, near Colville, Washington. Northern pike are classified as game fish in Montana and Idaho, and as prohibited species in Washington and Oregon, where they also are listed as aquatic invasive species. All four states prohibit live transport of northern pike.

There is no limit on the number of pike that can be taken in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Oregon has no harvest regulation for pike because they have not been found there yet. Fish and wildlife managers reported to the Council in June about the increasing pike population and the dangers posed to other fish species. Both Northern Pike and Muskellunge are listed as” Prohibited” species in Oregon.

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