Invasive Aquatic Plants Prompt Fishing Closures In Alexander Creek Watershed

The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Alexander and Sucker Lakes Closed to Sport Fishing

(Palmer) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is closing two remote lakes in the Alexander Creek watershed to sport fishing due to both lakes being infested with elodea (Canadian waterweed), an invasive freshwater plant. Due to the frequency of floatplane traffic on Alexander and Sucker lakes primarily from people accessing the sport fishery, and because elodea can reproduce from a single plant fragment, there is high risk of elodea spreading to other waterbodies if a fragment of the plant gets caught on floatplane rudders. Therefore, these lakes are closed to sport fishing effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, May 6 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 31, 2020.

Successful eradication of elodea from the Alexander Creek watershed is imperative to prevent the spread of this highly invasive plant and to prevent it from threatening pristine fish habitat elsewhere in Alaska. Due to the location of these lakes, eradication is logistically complex, expensive, and will require multiple years to complete. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the management authority for invasive aquatic plants in Alaska and is the lead agency in charge of this project. Efforts are now underway by DNR to treat these lakes with herbicides to eradicate the plant. Until treatments have taken effect, float planes will remain a vector for further spread.

Fishing for northern pike will reopen in August when it is anticipated treatments from this year will have taken effect and made elodea less likely to be picked up on floatplanes. Some alternative fly-in northern pike fishing locationsinclude Figure Eight, Flathorn, Arrowhead, Whitsol, Whitsoe, Upper and Lower Vern, Ladyslipper, Lockwood, Trail, Bulchitna, Sevenmile, Onestone, Shell, Whiskey, Hewitt, Chelatna, and Trapper lakes.

Additional information on elodea in Alaska, is available on the DNR Invasive Plants and Agricultural Pest Management webpage. Please report any additional sightings of elodea in Alaska via the ADF&G Invasive Species webpage or by calling 1 (877) INVASIV.