NDOW Seeks Input on Restoration Project for Comins and Bassett Lakes

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) Fisheries Division has released a proposed plan to restore the sport fisheries in Comins and Bassett Lakes near Ely in White Pine County by removing northern pike. The plan is available for public comment for thirty days beginning March 5, 2015.

Until the mid-2000s Comins Lake was a premier sport fishery for rainbow and brown trout, supporting up to 35,000 angler days per year. The illegal introduction of northern pike in the early 2000s decimated the trout fishery and angler use is now less than 2,000 days per year.

The sport fishery in Bassett Lake, north of Ely near McGill, Nevada, has also been severely impacted by the introduction of northern pike.

"NDOW Fisheries Division is proposing to remove northern pike from Comins and Bassett lakes and their tributaries," said NDOW Eastern Region fisheries supervisor John Elliott. "The goal is to restore the trout fisheries at both lakes."

The removal would be accomplished using the chemical piscicide rotenone, a commonly used fish management tool that is non-toxic to humans and non-gill breathing animals at the levels used for fishery treatments. Rotenone also rapidly breaks down when exposed to sunlight and warm water temperatures into compounds that are non-toxic to aquatic organisms.

Under the proposal, certified, trained applicators would apply powdered and liquid rotenone to the two reservoirs in late summer 2015 to remove the illegally introduced northern pike.

Northern pike are an aggressive predator native to the northern Midwest and are classified as a prohibited species in Nevada. This species represents a significant threat to sport fisheries in much of the state. Possession or transportation of live pike is prohibited under NAC 503.110.

"Anglers are requested to kill live pike immediately if caught anywhere in the state," said Elliott.

The Comins and Bassett Lakes Draft Project Proposal will be available for public comment for thirty days beginning on March 5, 2015. The document will be available for viewing at NDOW offices, to find a location visit www.NDOW.org.

In addition, the document will also be presented as an informational item at the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners meeting in Reno on March 21, 2015, where public comment can be taken. A public meeting will be held in Ely, Nevada to receive comments on the plan prior to the end of the comment period. The location and time of that meeting will be announced when available.

Written comments on the draft plan will be accepted until April 2, 2015 and can be mailed to:

John Elliott
Fisheries Division
Nevada Department of Wildlife
60 Youth Center Road
Elko, NV 89801

Comments can also be sent by email to jelliott@ndow.org.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or visit us at www.ndow.org.