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Friday, November 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

State upgrades northern pike invasive species listing

Tamara Knudson removes the otolith from a massive Northern Pike the Spokane Tribe caught in Lake Roosevelt during the week of Nov. 5, 2018. The pike was 45 inches long and weighed 27.5 pounds. The otolith, a small bone in the fish's ear, will allow biologists to determine the age of the pike and where it was born. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)
Tamara Knudson removes the otolith from a massive Northern Pike the Spokane Tribe caught in Lake Roosevelt during the week of Nov. 5, 2018. The pike was 45 inches long and weighed 27.5 pounds. The otolith, a small bone in the fish's ear, will allow biologists to determine the age of the pike and where it was born. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)

Washington managers are preparing for when northern pike, a voracious invasive predator, make it below the Grand Coulee Dam.

The species was moved from a Level 1 invasive species to a Level 3 at a September Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting.

The move sets the stage for declaring an invasive species emergency if the pike get below the Grand Coulee Dam, commissioner Kim Thorburn said. An emergency declaration would provide the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with more money to aggressively target northern pike.

Pike eat salmon and have decimated some salmon fisheries in Alaska and elsewhere. In November 2018, fish managers found a pike roughly 10 miles from Grand Coulee Dam.

“Those things are vacuum cleaners,” Thorburn said. “They really, really like salmonids.”

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