Assessment of the Status of the Sport Fishery for Northern Pike at Moose Lake, 2000
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 Moose Lake was classified as vulnerable (stable-recreational) and a 63 cm maximum total length (TL max) minimum size limit, 1 fish daily limit on pike was implemented in the sport fishery. In order to assess the status of the pike fishery at Moose Lake, a creel survey was conducted during May to August 2000. During the 2000 survey, the number of anglers utilizing the creel site was 1,063. The estimated number of anglers during the survey in 2000 was 9,957. Angling pressure was 6.7 angler-hours / hectare. This is an 8% decrease in angling pressure from 7.3 angler-hours / ha in 1995. The angling pressure in 1986 was 15.7 hrs / ha.
Eighty-seven pike were observed harvested during the survey. Nine of the observed pike were sublegal size. The estimated harvest of legal-size pike was 642. The observed harvest rate on legal-size pike (fish >63 cm TL max) was 0.023 fish / hr. The reported release rate on pike <63 cm TL max (sublegal size fish) was 1.22 fish / hr. The reported release rate on pike >63 cm TL max (legal size fish) was 0.078 fish / hr. The estimated release rate on sublegal size pike was 0.184 fish / hour. Therefore the estimated total catch rate for pike was 0.207 fish / hr (0.023 + 0.184). Reported catch rates are likely exaggerated.
Based on the criteria used to classify pike stocks in Alberta, the pike fishery at Moose Lake is vulnerable.