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Fear and Fishing in Lake Davis



“Fear and Fishing in Lake Davis” is a tale about people, government, and the fish that came between them. In the 1994, California Fish and Game staff discovered that anglers had illegally introduced northern pike, a popular Midwestern sport fish, into Lake Davis, a Sierra Nevada reservoir located in rural California. State officials were concerned that pike would make their way downstream from Lake Davis into California’s besieged Bay-Delta system, where a new predator could harm both commercially important and endangered native fish species. Pike also posed a threat in Lake Davis. The local economy depends on a healthy trout fishery, which is imperiled by the presence of the predatory pike. To get rid of the invasive pike, the California Department of Fish and Game decided to poison the lake and kill the pike. Residents in the nearby town of Portola, which gets its drinking water from Lake Davis, were outraged.

“Fear and Fishing in Lake Davis” captures the story of this ongoing environmental conflict on film. Through interviews with local residents, elected officials, and state agency personnel directly involved in the dispute, the film vividly portrays the clash between community and state government over controlling the invasive northern pike.

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