Photos: Check out these beastly fish being pulled out of Mountain Lake

Photo by Jonathan Young

The Presidio Trust has spent millions to remediate Mountain Lake, removing contaminated sediment from the lake bottom and restoring the native species and plants to the areas around the lake.

A big part of that effort has been removing non-native species from the lake itself, in anticipation of returning native species to it like three-spined stickleback fish and Pacific chorus frogs.

One Presidio Trust intern is still on the hunt for non-native fish, and this week he shared some unsettlingly monstrous photos of what he’s been fishing out of the lake with baynature.org.

Jonathan Young is a San Francisco State graduate student in biology and ecological restoration intern at the Presidio Trust. He’s armed with fishing equipment and a small inflatable boat/raft and sent out into the lake to catch what he can.

The results are pretty surprising and include giant carp and oversized sturgeon fish. Not what you’d expect to come from a neighborhood lake in San Francisco.

Carp, bass, and mosquitofish are the main offenders, and Young has already fished 20 large carp out of the lake. One carp can lay two million eggs in a season, so imagine how many more are swimming around in there.

So where did these non-native fish come from? From nearby residents who dumped their aquarium fish or intentional releases back when fishing was allowed on the lake.

“It makes me freaked out every time I step in there in waders by myself, like something’s going to suck me down,” Young said. Jeez, no kidding!

And before you start lamenting for the demise of these scaly beasts, there’s no need. They are lovingly relocated to small ponds in the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma to live out their lives.

See more pics and get the full story at baynature.org

God bless interns.

Sarah B.

Photo by Jonathan Young


  1. So what happened to that little alligator that was sighted in the lake a couple year ago? Did it get caught and relocated or was it dinner for that fish?

    Yikes, we had our own JAWS in the neighborhood and didn’t know it. Makes we wonder what is in some of those GGP ponds as well.

  2. Hopefully he is a paid intern. Doing the dirty work that a multi-million dollar budget doesn’t cover?
    Otherwise, I like the suggestion posted at the other link…have a free-for-all fishing contest. Nets, hooks, cages, or whatever else works.

  3. Let’s let people fish in the lake again, looks like this poor dude could use the help! Plus it would be fun to go fishing just right down the street

  4. #2 — The little ‘gator was supposedly caught and sent to a location in Alabama. A frield from Alabama, where they know about ‘gators, told me there was no way that little one ended up there.

  5. Good for him, but – if there are that many large fish in the lake, then as the article hints there are probably many more small fish, eggs, etc. Fishing them out one-by-one is hardly the solution.

  6. Awesome! The top photo is of a catfish and the lower one is of a green sturgeon, both bottom feeders and tough enough to live for years where other species would fear to tread. May they find good homes for them. I wonder if the previously native species will fare, being removed from wherever they are now and relocated to Mtn Lake which despite the truly heroic efforts has been changed forever. I think that unless we were to remove all non native species from around the lake – including the European variety Homo sapiens – we cannot really bring back the past. I hope it works out well enough though. Sticklebacks are cool.

  7. Sturgeon are native fish to California, but probably not a man-made lake. 🙂

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