|Matt Carlson of the California Department of Fish and Game holds up a poisoned northern pike. Chronicle photo by Lacy Atkins
By the end of the week, the death toll is expected to include all of the lake's famous rainbow trout, many catfish, shiners and other bait fish along with tens of thousands of the voracious invader known as the northern pike.
The people of the historic high Sierra town of Portola are so desperate to get rid of the pike that they are willing to poison the once and future source of their drinking water and kill virtually every living thing in it to accomplish the task.
On Tuesday, state Department of Fish and Game crews went out in an armada of 25 boats and poured 16,000 gallons of the fish poison rotenone into Lake Davis in an attempt to exterminate the pike once and for all.
"It's all good," said Sara Bensinger, the proprietor of Portola's Grizzly Store and Resort, where about 200 people gathered a couple of weeks ago to cheer as a 13-foot-tall papier-mache effigy of the predator was burned to the ground.
"I cannot wait for the pike to be gone," she said. "The last eight years have been a real struggle for me because of the pike situation."