YANKTON, S.D. (AP) — Wildlife officials are considering killing off all the fish in Lake Yankton in southeastern South Dakota to remove an unwanted population of undesirable species such as carp and smallmouth and largemouth buffalo.
Flooding two years ago caused Missouri River water to backfill into the lake and led to an increasing number of the invasive species. Officials in South Dakota and Nebraska are worried about game fish such as bass, bluegill, catfish and walleye being crowded out.
“There are a few good species left, but the writing's on the wall,” said Craig Bockholt, acting manager at the Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery, which oversees the lake with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “There's pretty much a consensus: Something has to be done.”
“The lake got contaminated, and their (unwanted fish) numbers are going to expand, and the game fish numbers will decrease. The warning signs are there,” said Jeff Schuckman, a Nebraska fisheries biologist.
In 1980, officials killed off the lake's fish with chemicals so they could give game fish a fresh start. If officials decide to do that again, they will seek public input, Schuckman said. Such an operation likely would not happen for a year or two.
After a chemical kill it could take two years or more to get the game fish population back to normal, according to Bockholt.
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