Alaska Bass? State Investigates Catch of Non-Native Fish

Alaska is investigating the rare catch of a largemouth bass. (ADF&G Facebook)

The report of a caught Alaska bass has the state scrambling to find out how it happened.

Not surprisingly, catching a black bass in Alaska is pretty big news, but perhaps not for the same reason you might think.

The report of a juvenile bass being caught Monday at Sand Lake near Anchorage had the state making plans to never let it happen again. The warm-water fish, popular among anglers in the Lower 48, are not wanted in Alaska. 

So, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is asking resident anglers to keep an eye out for the non-native fish and remove the fish from the water if one is caught.

The agency released this statement:

Bass are not native to Alaska, and it is illegal to transport live fish anywhere in the state. It is not known if this is an isolated incident, or if there are more bass in the lake. Biologists are quickly mobilizing to determine if other bass can be found by using gill nets and rod and reel methods. Early detection of potential non-native species is key if eradication efforts may be necessary. 

The agency said on Facebook that the bass was believed to be either a largemouth or spotted bass. How it got there isn't known.

A "Wanted Dead" flyer, with a photo of the bass, was included with the Facebook post."This is the first time we've learned of bass in Sand Lake," fisheries biologist Kristine Dunker said. "Our primary concern at this time is to determine if there are others, and more importantly, if there is evidence of a reproducing population. Over the next several days ADF&G staff will be concentrating their efforts on Sand Lake to evaluate if other bass are present, and if additional efforts will be needed to remove them."
Only salmon, rainbow trout and Arctic char (all native to Alaska) are the only fish species stocked in the lake, and Alaska Fish & Game asks anglers who suspect they've caught a bass to "please kill, keep the fish, and report it immediately to ADF&G. Do not release it back into the water live."
The agency added in its Facebook post: "Illegal introduction of exotics, such as bass and other warm water game fish, pose numerous threats to native stocks through introduction of parasites, disease, and predation.
If these fish are capable of reproducing, they could naturally expand their range in open systems or be illegally transported and stocked into other systems similar to how Northern pike have invaded and decimated some salmon systems in Southcentral AK."

Recommended for You


State Records Reported in Maryland, Michigan

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere.

Fishing How-To

Your Guide for the Best Catfish Baits

G&F Staff

If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and...


MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

G&F Online Staff - May 20, 2019

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories


10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper - April 02, 2015

We all have our "swear by" bait for catfish. For me, it is chicken liver, live shad or my...

Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...


12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these five great...

See More Stories

More Bass


32-Year-Old Brook Trout Record Falls in Va.

G&F Online Staff - May 30, 2019

New record longnose gar was also reported in Virginia.


Baitfish for Bass: Search, Suspend or Sink Crankbaits

Jason Houser - May 21, 2019

Crankbaits mimic exactly what they eat when hungry — other fish!


MLF Pros: What's With the Moon?

G&F Online Staff

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think?

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.