SEATTLE– As part of a larger effort to improve water quality and recreational fishing in Green Lake, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) plans to stock the lake with 150 tiger muskies in early November to thin populations of stunted perch and sunfish and to control common carp.
The tiger muskies, a non-reproducing hybrid of northern pike and muskellunge, have been used successfully since the 1980s for similar purposes on other state waters, including Mayfield Reservoir in Cowlitz County and Lake Tapps in Pierce County as well as other areas of the country.
Now about 18 inches long, the tiger muskies will be legal catch as game fish themselves once they reach a minimum 36 inches, in about a year. But in the meantime they are expected to improve fishing in the lake by thinning perch, rock bass, bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish populations. Those species, all non-natives, have overcrowded the lake and have become stunted. They also compete with seasonally stocked rainbow trout. The lake's heavy weed growth prevents bass from preying effectively on the over-populated perch and sunfish. By contrast, tiger muskies are effective predators in shallow, weedy waters such as Green Lake.
Besides balancing fish populations and thus improving fishing opportunities for urban anglers, the tiger muskies may also improve the lake's water quality by eating some of the lake's common carp which stir up bottom sediment.
The City of Seattle's Parks Department has made other efforts to improve Green Lake water quality, including weed mowing and phosphorus treatments.
Because Green Lake has no inlets or outlets to other waters, and because the tiger muskies are sterile, WDFW fish managers are confident the introduced fish will not pose an environmental threat in the 255-acre Lake or other waters.
Tiger muskies can live about 10 years and can reach lengths of 50 inches here under ideal conditions. The fish to be planted in Green Lake were reared at WDFW's Columbia Basin Hatchery in Moses Lake.
For additional information see: WDFW Fact Sheet: Tiger muskellunge stocking at Green Lake.