Assessment of the Status of the Sport Fishery for Northern Pike at Pinehurst Lake, 2000


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 Pinehurst Lake was classified as vulnerable (stable-recreational) and a 63 cm maximum total length (TL max) minimum 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 Pinehurst Lake, a creel survey was conducted during May to August 2000. During the 2000 survey, the number of anglers utilizing the creel site was 1,572. The estimated number of anglers during the survey in 2000 was 5,128 (including a derby during June). Angling pressure (angler-hours / hectare, hrs / ha) was 5.4. This is a 22% decrease in angling pressure since 1997 (6.9 hrs / ha) and a 48% decrease since the 1994 survey (10.40 hrs / ha).

Seventy-five pike were observed harvested during the survey. Seven of the observed pike were sublegal size. The estimated harvest of legal-size pike (fish >63 cm TL max) was 334. The observed harvest rate on legal-size pike was 0.017 fish / hr. The reported release rate on pike >63 cm TL max was 0.016 fish / hr. The reported release rate on pike <63 cm TL max (sublegal size) was 0.449 fish / hr. The estimated release rate on sublegal size pike was 0.257 fish / hour. Therefore the estimated total catch rate for pike was 0.274 fish / hr (0.017 + 0.257). Reported catch rates are likely exaggerated.

Based on the criteria used to classify pike stocks in Alberta, the pike fishery at Pinehurst Lake is likely vulnerable.

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