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Get a reward for hooking the meanest fish in the river

Posted: Wednesday, January 24, 2001

KENAI (AP) -- Ferocious, aggressive, cannibalistic. These are just some of the words used to describe the northern pike, a recent introduction to Kenai Peninsula waters.

Concern about the spread of the predatory fish has prompted a novel idea that will be tried in next month's fishing derby.

To gather more scientific data about the species, organizers of the Soldotna Trustworthy fishing derby are offering anglers a free pair of gloves if they bring in a pike taken during the competition.

''If any angler catches a pike of any size, we want to know about it,'' said Robert Ruffner of the Kenai Watershed Forum. ''If the anglers bring in the completed survey along with the fish and its guts, they will receive a free pair of gloves from Sweeney's Clothing.''

Ruffner said derby organizers don't expect to deplete the pike population. ''Right now, we are just entering the phase of determining how successful they have been spreading,'' he told the Peninsula Clarion.

No one knows for sure how pike, which are native to other Alaska waters, got to the peninsula. Some biologists think they were originally brought here by ''bucket biologists,'' a term used for well-meaning residents who dump fish from another area into their favorite lake with the plan to spice up the fishing.

The practice is illegal and has caused problems in the past for other native species.

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