Assessment of the Status of the Sport Fishery for Walleye and Northern Pike, and Statistics for Yellow Perch at Smoke 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 preliminary data analysis for yellow perch began in 1999. The walleye fishery at Fickle Lake was classified as collapsed in 1996 (Alberta Environmental Protection 1996). A daily bag limit fo zero walleye (catch and release only) is associated with a collapsed population. A creel survey was conducted in the summer of 1998 and in order to assess the status of the walleye fishery, and provide data on the nothern pike and yellow perch fisheries.
Based on the classification criteria for walleye stocks in Alberta, the Smoke Lake walleye fishery should likely remain at the stable classification. Preliminary analysis of the data for norhtern pike suggests that this fishery will fit into the vulnerable or collapsed classification. Five of the nine criteria placed the pike population in the vulnerable category and three of the nine criteria placed the pike population in the collapsed category. Based on the northern pike management plan (Berry 1999), the vulnerable classification would result in a minimum size limit of 63 cm total length and one fish per day harvest in 2000. The collapsed classification for northern pike would result in catch and release only for pike in 2000. No recommendations were made regarding yellow perch regulation changes. Some data on yellow perch was collected and reported in anticipation of the development of a yellow perch management plan for Alberta.