North Wabasca Lake Creel Survey Summer 2001
A creel survey was conducted on North Wabasca Lake from May 18 – September 2, 2001. The purpose of the survey was to collect data on the recreational angling effort, harvest rates, sportfish population dynamics and determine current status of the walleye and pike fisheries.
Effort was estimated at 4,609 anglers or 13,011 hours (1.3 hours / ha). The highest angler effort occurred in June. The Campground site accounted for 48% of the angling pressure. The majority of the walleye harvest (55%) and pike harvest (37%) also occurred in the month of June. The total sport harvest of walleye was estimated at 3,299 kg (0.33 kg/ha), of which 2,461 fish (2,953 kg or 0.30 kg/ha) were legal harvested walleye and 336kg (0.04 kg/ha) were dead walleye (assuming 5% hooking mortality). The mean weight of harvested walleye was 1.2 kg. The estimated number of released sub-legal and legal walleye was 12,412 and 589 respectively. The total catch per unit (CPUE) was estimated at 1.21 walleye / hour. The harvest rate on legal-sized walleye was calculated at 0.198 kept / hour. The CUE on released sub-legal and legal walleye was 0.97 and 0.05 walleye released / hour. Good recruitment with low densities of older walleye was evident. Based on criteria used to classify walleye stocks in Alberta, the walleye population in North Wabasca Lake is in a stable condition.
The total harvest of legal-sized pike was estimated at 445 fish (934 kg). The mean weight of harvested pike was 2.1 kg. There were also an estimated 5,202 sub-legal and 650 legal pike released. Due to size limits imposed on sport anglers and the predominant targeting of walleye, the northern pike biological data collected during this creel survey is not representative of the true pike population in North Wabasca Lake.