Confirmation of Northern Pike in Ocean Lake raised concerns at Game and Fish

A photo posted on Tuesday morning of a Pavillion angler and the Northern Pike he caught in Ocean Lake on his birthday has confirmed the worst fears of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “We heard about a northern being caught in Ocean last winter, but we were never able to put our hands on the fish, so this is the first official confirmation that northern are in there,” said Craig Amadio, WGFD fisheries biologist in Lander. “Northern Pike are very aggressive that require a lot of food. There are suckers, carp and such in the lake for them to eat, but with a predator like that our big concern is they could escape and establish themselves in other waters, we want to keep them out of Boysen.” Amadio said people don’t realize how easily fish can move around. “We’ve been managing Ocean Lake for walleye, which is another top predator, and to have two top predators in the lake is not good for what we want to do there,” he said. The fisheries biologist said that because northern are such voracious eaters, they don’t do well in Wyoming waters because there are usually not enough fish to sustain them. [image: Inline image 1] Amadio praised the angler, Russell Naef (above), for keeping the fish intact and calling in when the G&F reposted in comments on the photo reaching out to him. “We want to get the otoliths from the fish (inner ear bone) because we can tell how old the fish is as otoliths grow in rings, and they retain the chemical signature of the water they grew up in, so we can tell where it came from when it was young,” he said. “We have to assume there are more of them in Ocean Lake. If any other angler catches one, we’d like them not to release it back into the water, but kill it and keep the head so we can harvest the otoliths,” he said. “These northern are a threat to our entire fishery out there.” Amadio, who came to Lander from Green River, said he’s had experience at Flaming Gorge when Burbot first showed up there. “We manage that for lake trout and kokanee salmon, but the burbot are also top predators and they’ve had a negative impact there.” He said it’s way too early to know how the northern got into Ocean Lake in the first place. Northern Pike. h/t Photo WGFD / Pitchengine Communities #county10