Assessment of the Status of the Sport Fishery for Walleye at Pinehurst Lake, 2000
To recover or maintain Alberta's walleye fisheries, a new walleye management strategy was implemented in 1996. In 1996, the walleye fishery at Pinehurst Lake was classified as stable and a 43 cm maximum total length (TL max) minimum size limit on walleye was implemented in the sport fishery. After creel survey in 1997, the walleye fishery was reclassified as vulnerable and a 50 cm TL max was implemented. In order to verify the 1997 assessment of the status of the walleye 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 2000 survey was 5,128 (including a derby during June). Angling pressure was 5.4 angler-hours / hectare. This is a 22% decrease in angling pressure since 1997 (6.9 hrs / ha) and a 48% decrease since the 1994 survey (10.4 hrs / ha).
The estimated harvest of legal-size walleye was 1,315. The harvest rate on walleye >50 cm (TL max) has increased 2.1 times from 0.032 walleye kept / hour in 1997 to 0.068 in 2000. However, since the 1997 survey, the estimated release rate on walleye <50 cm (TL max) or sublegal size has decreased 40% from 0.506 fish / hour to 0.303 fish / hour in 2000.
Based on the criteria used to classify walleye stocks in Alberta, the walleye fishery at Pinehurst Lake remains vulnerable.