State biologists hunt for bass in West Anchorage lake
An Anchorage angler got quite the surprise on Monday night when they caught a fish that isn't normally seen in Alaska waters, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
ADF&G's Division of Sport Fish said a local angler went out to Sand Lake and caught a juvenile bass that is not native to Alaska.
Fishery biologist Kristine Dunker said this is the first time they've learned of a bass in Sand Lake:
"Our primary concern at this time is to determine if there are others, and more importantly, if there is evidence of a reproducing population. Over the next several days ADF&G staff will be concentrating their efforts on Sand Lake to evaluate if other bass are present, and if additional efforts will be needed to remove them."
Dunker and fellow biologist Parker Bradley went to Sand Lake on Thursday to check it out for other bass like the one turned into them Tuesday morning.
“There are no native bass species in Alaska so this certainly is a fish not supposed to be in this lake,” she said.
The biologists set gill nets in the area the bass was caught and also took hook and line sampling.
Dunker said Fish and Game is taking this seriously because having bass in Alaska waters could cause some fish species to decline.
“They are top predators," Dunker said. "They can feed on other species to cause them to decline. The disease issue is huge and there’s been a number of cases in other parts of the world where they’ve been introduced where they’ve cause extirpation which means they’ve cause other species to decline to zero.”
So far, no more bass have been caught but Fish and Game is asking the community to monitor the fish you catch closely.
“Be really mindful of what it is you’re catching," Dunker said. "And if you find something that doesn’t look like a trout, doesn’t look like a salmon, if you know it looks like a bass, it doesn’t matter if it’s unfamiliar… call fish and game. Bring it to our office in Anchorage we’re going to want that fish."
Any fish you believe is a non-native species, kill it, keep it and bring it to the Anchorage Fish and Game office located at 333 Raspberry Road or call (877) INVASIV or (877) 468-2748.
Anyone with information about how the bass may have got into Sand Lake is asked to contact Fish and Game at 1-(877) INVASIV or 1-(877) 468-2748.
John Thompson contributed to this story.
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