When people release illegal fish – goldfish, crappie, bass and bullheads – into lakes or streams, they reduce the survival rates and growth of stocked trout. This was the case with several bodies of water in northeastern Oregon including Balm Creek Reservoir, Kinney Lake, and ponds called Lugar, Boundary, Keyhole, Yellowjacket, Granite Meadows, and Goldfish.
The solution: use rotenone, a plant-based poison that enters through the fish’s gills and cuts off oxygen. It kills every fish, including uncaught trout. It was applied under close ODFW and Oregon Department of Agriculture supervision in October and the fisheries are now being monitored. Rainbow trout will be restocked in late spring next year.
Rotenone is not harmful to humans and other animals at the low concentration rates applied to the waterways.
A recent ODFW survey showed that more people in Oregon fish for trout than any other kind of fish. This project restored degraded fisheries in northeast Oregon and increased angling opportunities. Funding for the project comes from licensing dollars and is distributed through ODFW’s Restoration & Enhancement program.
Rotenone was successfully used to remove goldfish at Mann Lake in the Alvord Valley and invasive brown bullhead catfish in South Twin Lake in the Deschutes National Forest, greatly improving those fisheries. More recently rotenone was applied on North Twin Lake in the Deschutes National Forest.
Releasing live fish is illegal in Oregon without an ODFW approved permit.