Invasion of the muskies



You thought the goldfish invasion at the Cuddy Park pond was bad. And the pike that have shown up in waterways in Southcentral Alaska have bounties on their heads.

Now someone has introduced “Son of Pike.”

Muskies, a non-native species, were recently discovered in a lake on the Kenai Peninsula. These fish are voracious eaters of salmon and salmon fry. They are monsters and they’ve been found in various age groups, which means the fish have been reproducing, according to sources familiar with the problem.

Muskies are highly predatory and aggressive fighters for sport fishermen in the Lower 48. The only way they could have reached a lake on the Kenai Peninsula is if someone imported them, because the closest native population of this fish is on the other side of the Rocky Mountains in Canada — a completely different drainage.

Import of non-native series is illegal, but is still only a misdemeanor. Importing a voracious predator like muskies?

There is a special place in hell for whoever did that, as they could destroy salmon runs on the Kenai.

Update: Fish and Game says the muskies have been eradicated from the lake and the department says it may never know who brought them into Alaska. No further action is expected.


    • Dave – That is a closely guarded item right now. I’m trying to find out. – sd

  1. I think this could work out quite well as a new exotic fishery and cannot conceive how it would threaten salmon and trout population elsewhere.

    • Thats why people like us hunt was needs to be hunted & conserve by moderation of what game is needed to sustain its population. A nonalaskan fish doesnt not belong plus you ever try these theres so many bones that was thicker than salmon and two extra columns of ribs so good luck picking thru the Irish lord trash fish type of fish. Our good eaten well respected salmon could never be out classes by these fish. This has got to be caught with setting nets.

    • Why is it closely guarded? Are they afraid people will fish for them? I feel itbshould be encouraged right now

  2. If there were muskies, which there have been in the past, and the “source” says there are all age groups, then eradiction will not happen in a few minutes. This is probably old news, very old news. ADFG has no info on it, if so please provide otherwise it is just fake news.

    • Jason – I do appreciate your skepticism, but see the note from ADF&G below. – sd

  3. Do like F&G did to several lakes to “enhance” salmon habitat. Douse the lake with rotenone (a fish suffocating algae) and kill the foreign invaders and all other fish in the lake. In the sixties, a local lake was completely killed off of rainbow trout, kokanee and other very edible fish (dollies), to “enhance” salmon spawning habitat. Mother Nature had managed that lake forever. I was in a group of locals protesting. F&G called the troopers and we were threatened with arrest and jail if we tried to interfere with ‘killing’ the lake. Later, an actual study was performed and it was discovered that 90+% of the preferred salmon in the area didn’t go into the lake. “College educated” biologists arguing with Mother Nature. Turns out they were dumber than rocks. We were left with a ‘dead’ fishing hole (lake). In any case, fish like the ‘muskies’ have no business in Alaskan waters. Period. Whoever put them there needs to be dealt with, and harshly. Kill the intruders in the lake with rotenone before they can spread and restock with trout.

  4. I am an Assistant Director with ADF&G Sport Fish Division. The Muskies were discovered in one of the lakes within the Tote Road Lakes system while sampling in 2018 for our pike eradication project. The lake is unnamed. The good news is that the pike and muskie found within the system were eradicated and re-stocking efforts using native fish from Slikok Creek have begun. The following is an Op-Ed from our division director on this topic.

    Muskies. Muskellunge. No matter what you call them, they are not welcome in Alaska. Ever.

    Muskies are not native to Alaska and pose an extremely serious threat to our native species that are so critical to our Alaska way of life – specifically, our salmon.

    Recently, biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Division of Sport Fish found a small population of these illegally-introduced fish on the Kenai Peninsula during surveys of a close relative, the northern pike, a known widespread invasive species in Southcentral. Numerous muskies of varying ages were found, making this discovery important because these fish were reproducing, which is a terrifying thought.

    Before we go further, I’d like to make it clear what distinguishes an invasive species verses a non-native species, because we have both in Alaska. As defined by the International Union of Conservation of Nature, an invasive species is a species that has been introduced to an environment where it is non-native, and whose introduction causes environmental or economic damage or harm to human health. Muskies, because of how predatory they are, could very easily damage fisheries in the same way northern pike have, and become an invasive species here.

    In Alaska, we are fortunate to have world-class fisheries that we at ADF&G are constitutionally mandated to protect. Illegal introductions of species, such as the muskie, put these world-class fisheries at risk, especially if they were to make their way into on our world-famous salmon-bearing rivers on the Kenai Peninsula.

    The muskies that were found on the Kenai Peninsula got to Alaska by only one means: intentional human actions. The nearest native population of muskies is in Manitoba Canada, making it virtually impossible that they could get to Alaska through natural migration.

    Selfish actions by those that intentionally bring potential invasive species into our state for their own benefit continue to put our world-class salmon fisheries at risk.

    Over the last several years, ADF&G has put millions of dollars towards the elimination of invasive species, most notably, northern pike on the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage and in the Mat-Su, all because of the “Johnny Appleseed’s” or “bucket biologists” who intentionally, and illegally, move live fish species to parts of Alaska where they don’t belong.

    What may appear to be innocent actions, with no ill-intent, can raise havoc on our Alaska way of life, our local and state economies, and impact our ability to manage our fisheries for sustainability that benefits future generations.

    If you choose to participate in subsistence, sport, commercial, or personal use fisheries, or even if you don’t choose to fish, invasive species can ultimately threaten the way of life of every Alaskan.

    Introducing any non-native species into Alaska is against the law. Violation of these laws can result is significant fines and potentially jail time if the violator is convicted. State of Alaska misdemeanor penalties can range from fines up to $10,000, jail time, and even requiring that restitution be made to cover the cost of eradication, which could total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars! Federal law has similar repercussions for violators. Non-native species introductions are taken very seriously and are actively investigated with genetics and other technologies, similar to forensic analyses used for other crimes.

    At the Alaska Department of Fish and Game we firmly believe that lawful anglers do not intend to introduce invasive species into our waters. However, we must act aggressively to prevent these occurrences. Preventing invasive species problems before they occur is, by far, the most cost-effective option. But, when infestations occur, early detection is key to stopping the spread of invasive species.

    Your help is needed!

    Please report any suspected invasive species immediately. Reporting can be done by several means. You can report on the department website at or by calling the Invasive Species Hotline: 1-877-INVASIV (1-877-468-2748), or by calling your local Fish and Game office.

    As Director of the Division of Sport Fish, I am committed to ensuring that our native fisheries are protected from the threats of invasive species across Alaska. I strongly encourage each Alaskan to join me in the fight to keep our native fisheries productive and sustainable. I want our kids, and grandkids, to have the same amazing opportunities that I’ve had to enjoy our world-class fisheries into the future.

Comments are closed.