Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) are working to stop the invasive northern pike in a Western Colorado lake.
Mack Mesa Lake Being Drained
Mack Mesa Lake, located between Grand Junction and the Utah state line, is being drained to stop the northern pike from eating four species of endangered fish.
Fishermen found the northern pike in the lake last year. CPW officials immediately removed several of the fish at that time, but more were found. Now, the lake is being completely drained to try to rid the lake of the invasive fish.
CPW officials believe “someone trying to selfishly create a place to catch their own favorite fish” put the northern pike in the lake. It’s against the law for private citizens to put fish in Colorado lakes, rivers, streams, and other waters without prior approval from the CPW.
Four Endangered Fish At Risk
The northern pike puts four endangered fish — the Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, humpback chub, and bonytail — at further risk of extinction. The endangered fish have been in the lake since 1988, according to CBS Denver.
Mack Mesa Lake is located within Highline Lake State Park. Mack Mesa Lake only allows paddle boards and hand or electric-motor powered boats, so it’s friendly to anglers. The nearby Highline Lake, however, allows power and sailboats and should be safer for the endangered fish.
While Mack Mesa Lake is being drained and the northern pike being removed, the other fish in the lake will be moved to Highline Lake. Once the Mack Mesa Lake is refilled, CPW plans to fill it with bass, catfish, trout, and other fish so anglers can enjoy it again this spring and summer.
Where Are Northern Pike Found?
Northern pike are found in the upper Midwest, as well as Canada, Europe, and Asia.
An adult can become very large — up to 4.5 feet in length and more than 62 pounds.