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Public Warned Against Eating Fish in Whiskeytown Lake

Flick/Wayne Hsieh

While Whiskeytown Lake isn’t known for its world-class fishing, there are certainly some fish to be caught in the beautiful lake. But heed warning – they may not be the best to eat.

California environmental health officials issued new guidelines for eating fish in Whiskeytown, citing health warnings specifically for the pikeminnow. Officials recommend women aged 18 to 49 and children ages 1 to 17 should not eat them due to unhealthy levels of methylmercury.

With the new guidelines, officials recognized there are other fish in the lake that are perfectly healthy to eat. Brook trout, sunfish, black bass and Sacramento suckers are okay to eat, although everything should be consumed in moderation.

Here is an animated guide to eating fish in Whiskeytown:

The new guidelines are not temporary, as officials expect them to last for decades. Mercury got into the lake through mining activities in the area, though are not unhealthy until it gets to the bottom of the lake, where it turns into methylmercury and binds to algae.

The same fish-eating guidelines were implemented on Shasta Lake two years ago.

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Whiskeytown Lake is know for its crystal clear water and beautiful surroundings for camping, hiking and boating, although last summer it was completely decimated by the Carr Fire, which burned 39,000 of the 42,000 acres of national recreation area.

Although not known for its fishing, you can find smaller trout and bass in the lake, along with the much smaller pikeminnow.

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