Monday July 17, 2023


Right now, an invasive fish species is trapped behind Grand Coulee Dam in eastern Washington. If northern pike make it past the two giant cement dams in their way, it could spell trouble for salmon. That’s why wildlife agencies are preparing for the worst-case scenario.

For now, northern pike are trapped behind Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River. While there have been fewer detections this year, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Jesse Schultz says the persevering pike are getting closer to Grand Coulee.

“We’re trying to hold the line,” Schultz said at a Northwest Power and Conservation Council Fish and Wildlife Committee meeting.

Northern pike have massive, toothy jaws and even bigger appetites. The invasive fish have been known to even chomp down on bats and ducks. So, it’s no wonder biologists are worried about salmon – and the billions of dollars that have been poured into their recovery.

Biologists say early detection of northern pike is key, which is why the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife hired an environmental consulting agency to develop a rapid response plan if fish are found in other waters.

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