Anglers on the North Road will have to continue the practice of returning any Arctic Char or Dolly Varden to the waters of Stormy Lake for at least another year. Effective at 12:01 a.m. on New Year's Day, the restriction on fish retention was extended by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The ban on taking Char or a Dolly in the lake stems from efforts started in 2012 to eradicate invasive, nonnative northern pike from Stormy Lake. That required poisoning the fish with a chemical called Rotenone.
The effort was successful, but prior to treatment Fish and Game took eggs from Arctic Char and Dolly Varden and reared them in the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery. In the summer of 2013, the fingerlings were released back into a pike-free Stormy Lake, but even though they are now five years old, they still have not matured enough to spawn. Hence, the addition of another year of fishing restrictions.
In an announcement, the Department notes that Arctic char are a species with slow growth rates and low population densities and it is unknown how long it will take for the fish to become sexually mature and to reestablish natural production.
The retention ban will remain in effect throughout 2018.