The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
(Anchorage) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Division of Sport Fish (division) recently received confirmation about the species of bass caught in Sand Lake in early September. Genetic testing conducted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks confirmed it to be a largemouth bass, which are not native to Alaska.
“Immediately following the discovery of the illegal introduction of a bass into Sand Lake, ADF&G staff began surveying the lake,” stated Fisheries Research Biologist Kristine Dunker. “We were concerned that there might be more bass, and potentially, a reproducing population of bass in the lake.”
After several days of surveying Sand Lake using various types of nets and traps, as well as, fishing with hook and line, no additional bass have been found. ADF&G has not received any additional reports of bass being caught from anglers. The division intends to continue to survey the lake over the coming weeks and months to ensure the lake is bass-free. ADF&G would like to remind everyone that introducing non-native fish into any Alaska waters is illegal and can be harmful to native stocks.
Largemouth bass are an aggressive predator and will eat a variety of prey. As adult fish, they are often the top predators in the lakes they inhabit. Because of this, bass have the capacity to change entire food webs, and potentially wipe out entire species within lakes they are illegally introduced.
Anglers are reminded to bring in any fish caught to local ADF&G offices that are not believed to be a native Alaska fish species. Anglers can also report any suspected non-native species by calling (877) INVASIV or (877) 468-2748 or by visiting the ADF&G Invasive Species Online Reporting webpage.
For more information, please read the October 2018 Alaska Fish and Wildlife News article “Why Non-Native Fish Introductions Can be a Pain in the Bass.”