Assessment of the Summer Sport Fishery for Walleye and Northern Pike at Gods Lake Alberta 2004
Greg Fortier and John Tchir
Improved access (upgraded and new roads) into lakes in the Red Earth area in recent years has raised concern about the potential for increased angling pressure. The purpose of this survey was to describe the current level of angler use and provide data to fisheries managers to evaluate the status of walleye and northern pike sport fisheries of priority lakes in this area. This report describes the results of the summer angler survey on Gods Lake.
Gods Lake is located in Alberta approximately 66 km Northeast of Red Earth, Alberta. It can be accessed by an unimproved earth and gravel road. Development at the lake consists of graveled area next to the water to facilitate the launching of boats, the gravel does not extend into the water.
An access point angler survey was completed at Gods Lake in 2004 to quantify angling effort, catch and harvest rates of walleye (Sander vitreus) and northern pike (Esox lucius). An estimated 990 (95% confidence limits (CL) 780-1240) anglers fished the lake from 21 May to 29 August 2004. The angling pressure exerted on Gods Lake was 2.31 angler hours per hectare (hours/ha) (95% CL 1.80-2.86 hrs/ha).
The overall catch rate of walleye (expressed as total catch per unit effort (TCUE)) was observed to be 0.32 fish/hr, while the total harvest per unit effort (THUE) was 0.07 fish/hr. The total walleye harvest was estimated at 0.33 kg/ha (95% CL 0.27-0.41 kg/ha). In contrast, the overall catch rate of northern pike TCUE was 0.91 fish/hr, while the estimated THUE was 0.003 harvested fish/hr. A total of two northern pike were observed in the creel, therefore no estimates were made for total harvest.
The von Bertalanffy growth function resulted in an estimated 7.4 years to produce a harvestable walleye (>50cm total length). A similar estimate to produce a legal-length northern pike was not made due to low sample size of legally harvested fish.
Although angling pressure at Gods Lake during the summer may be considered low at the time of this survey. Improved access and upgrading of facilities at this lake may result in an increase in pressure that can now be monitored and compared to previous levels.