MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - During fall of last year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife laid plans for a fish kill at West Medical Lake. They used a product called Rotenone, which removed all the oxygen from the water, killing off everything.
The evidence of the die-off was pungently present into winter, as thousands upon thousands of fish rotted on the shores.
The reason for the fish kill was an invasion of goldfish, likely released by pet owners, or escaped bait.
The goldfish out competed all the beneficial and target species, like trout, ruining the fishery.
Now the dead lake is seeing life once again, as over the last few weeks the WDFW has stocked the lake with rainbow trout and on Friday, they added 15,000 brown trout to the mix.
Fish biologists with the department hope that the brown trout will act as a buffer against future invasive species introductions, as they will sometimes eat fish.
The trout were loaded up from the Spokane Fish Hatchery in North Spokane and drive by truck to Medical Lake where they were pumped out.
"These are going to be catchables, so they are actually five to the pound fish," said Jade Helm, a fish hatchery specialist with the WDFW.
He says they will also be adding some large brood stock to the lake in the coming days, just prior to the fishing season.
"The opener is going to be in a couple of weeks," he said, "so buy a license, grab yourself a fishing pole and bait and you'll be able to catch these fish."
He says it should be a great fishing season at the lake, as its far south enough that it is ice free.
"This year has been a little different than most," he said, "we are going to be struggling to get our lakes planted up north, most of the lakes have ice on them, so its a great opportunity to come out to West Medical Lake."
He asks that you keep your goldfish out of the lake, don't release pets, don't use them as bait. The fix is expensive and you can also find yourself in legal trouble if you are caught.
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