Assessment of the Status of the Sport Fishery for Walleye and Northern Pike, and Statistics for Yellow Perch at Shiningbank Lake 1998
Sheldon Kowalchuk and Chris Davis
Alberta's fisheries managers developed a walleye management plan in 1995 (Berry 1995) to provide provincial standards for classifying walleye stocks. A similar northern pike management plan has recently been completed (Berry 1999) and one for yellow perch is in the planning stage. The walleye fishery at Shiningbank Lake was classified as stable in 1996 (Alberta Environmental Protection 1996). A daily bag limit of three walleye and a minimum size limit of 430 mm total length (TL) accompanied this classification. A creel survey was conducted in the summer of 1998 in order to assess the status of the walleye fishery, and provide data on the northern pike and yellow perch fisheries.
An extremely low catch rate (0.029 h-1 total catch per unit effort), and an unstable age-class structure indicate that the walleye fishery should be downgraded from stable to the collapsed classification. This would designate Shiningbank Lake as catch and release only for walleye. Preliminary analysis of the data for northern pike suggest that this fishery would fit into the vulnerable category, as six of nine criteria placed it in this category. Based on the northern pike management plan (Berry 1999), such a classification would result in a minimum size limit of 63 cm total length and one fish per day harvest limit in 2000. Some data on yellow perch was collected and reported in anticipation of the development of a yellow perch management plan for Alberta.