Northern pike take over Alaskan lake

WASILLA -- Patches of snow still dotted the grassy edges of Alexander Lake this May when state fisheries biologists Dave Rutz, Sam Ivey, and Chris Brockman set about pulling up a hoop net they'd set for pike. As they reeled in the long black net, they gasped. Inside was a mass of 45 pike, and, in that mass were seven "pigs," pike 40-inches or longer with thigh-thick bellies. One measured just shy of four feet and weighed maybe 30 pounds.

"You guys will never see this again," Ivey remembers a stunned Rutz telling him.

He was wrong. A week later, Ivey and his crew did it again.

Alexander Lake and the namesake creek that drains from it into the Susitna River once teemed with salmon and fishermen. Now it boils with a population of pike that, like no other place in Alaska, has decimated the salmon fishery and the lodges that depended on those runs.

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