Assessment of the Status of the Sport Fishery for Pike at Pigeon Lake, 1999


B. Patterson


To recover or maintain Alberta's northern pike (Esox Lucius) fisheries, a new pike management strategy was implemented in 1999. In 1999, the pike fishery at Pigeon Lake was classified as stable-recreational (vulnerable) and a 63 cm (maximum total length) size limit, 3 fish daily limit on pike was implemented in the sport fishery. In order to assess the status of the pike fishery at Pigeon Lake, a creel survey was conducted during May to August 1999. During the survey, the number of anglers utilizing the creel site was 630. The estimated number of anglers was 3420. The estimated effort during the survey was 10,724 hours. Angling pressure (angler-hours / hectare) was extremely low at 1.1 hrs / ha.
The estimated harvest of legal-sized pike was 107. The catch rate on legal-sized pike (>63 cm max TL) during the 1999 survey was 0.010 pike kept / hour. The estimated release rate on sub-legal pike was 0.029 fish / hour. The estimated total catch rate on pike was therefore 0.039 fish / hour. Few anglers were successful in harvesting a legal-sized pike. There was a high degree of inequality in the catch of pike.
Anecdotal information suggests the start of the problems for pike and walleye in Pigeon Lake was the commercial fishery in the 1940s. Bidgood (1973) mentions that the number of pike in Pigeon Lake were very low in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Based on the criteria used to classify pike stocks in Alberta and historical information, the Pigeon Lake pike population is collapsed.

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