The Senior Fisheries Biologist with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations says they may remove some more goldfish from Dragon Lake in the spring.
Lee Williston says a group of volunteers were very successful in doing that back in 2016 when the goldfish numbers near the shore seemed to peak.
“Right now the primary goal when it comes to goldfish in the lake is to control densities, so the primary methods we’re looking at there is through physical removal through the use of nets or electroshocking. There were some volunteers that we permitted then to remove some congregations that were near shore, and they removed probably in excess of ten thousand fish, but we haven’t seen those congregations near shore that we can really target large numbers efficiently.”
Williston says they continue to monitor the situation and are in regular contact with some of the volunteers.
He says Dragon Lake is extremely important to the Ministry for a couple of reasons
“Not only does it support a significant sports fishery but we also utilize it to collect eggs to support the provincial stocking program. So each year roughly three million eggs are taken from that lake to support the stocking of small lakes across the province, including Dragon itself, so it’s a very important lake but one of the positive things from that is we do have a lot of information on that population, and we get up to date information each year.”
Williston says they also try to give the trout that go into Dragon an advantage.
“One of the things we try to do to offset that a little bit is we’ll continue to stock the lake annually with 30,000 yearling rainbows. So we stock them at a bit of a larger size to give them a competitive advantage over those goldfish. That doesn’t completely mitigate the impact because they are still competing for food. But we give them a head start the best we can.”
Williston says at this point they haven’t noticed a significant impact on either the number of rainbow trout in the lake or the number of eggs that are collected.
He says the only other option they have is to eradicate the lake…
“The only way you can actually get rid of an aquatic invasive once they get established in a lake as they have here is through chemical eradication, and they do that nowadays through the use of a natural substance found in the root of a plant found in South America. There wouldn’t be long-lasting impacts associated with that, but that’s not something we’re considering right now. We would exhaust all other options before considering that route.”