Catch and donate northern pike

Northern pike, like this one at Yuba Reservoir, sit at the top of the food chain.  Biologists and anglers are concerned about the effect northern pike might have on fish in Utah Lake.

If you head this spring or summer toward Utah Lake near Provo, take your fishing rod and keep an eye out for northern pike.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources needs help in reducing the lake’s population of northern pike and is asking anglers to take as many pike as they can and then donate the fish to science.

DWR officials say Utah Lake is a prime example of what happens when fish are taken from one body of water and placed illegally in another body of water.

Mike Slater, regional aquatic manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says a population of northern pike, stocked illegally in Utah Lake, is rapidly growing in size.

And that, Slater warns, could spell trouble for sport fish and for the endangered June suckers that also live in the lake.

Slater says Utah Lake is the only water in the world where June suckers live.

Despite the news, Slater says there’s still hope.

“If anglers will help us gather the information we need,” he said, “we might be able to get on top of the problem before it gets out of hand.”

Here’s how he is asking anglers to help:

If you catch a northern pike at Utah Lake, kill the fish. Then, record the date and the location where you caught it.

Coordinates from a GPS device are especially helpful.

The fish can be dropped off at the DWR office in Provo or Springville, where biologists, using the catch and location information, may determine where the pike are spawning and what areas in the lake they’re using.

Donated fish will be given to a researcher at Utah State University. His research will help biologists learn more about pike in the lake, including which fish the pike are preying on and how many they’re consuming.

“To complete his research,” Slater said, “the researcher needs 500 pike. Any pike you catch and donate will help the study immensely.”

But if you catch a northern pike, and you don’t want to donate it, it must be killed, Slater said.

More information at


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