Status of Walleye and Northern Pike Sport Fisheries at Marie Lake, Alberta, 2004


Bill Patterson and Mike Blackburn


In the mid to late 1990s, the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (ASRD), developed management plans to aid in a province-wide recovery of walleye (Alberta's Walleye Management Recovery Plan (WMRP)) and northern pike (Alberta's Northern Pike Management and Recovery Plan (NPMRP)) fisheries throughout the province. Populations of these two species were assigned one of three management status as 1) collapsed, 2) vulnerable, or 3) stable, according to lake-specific guidelines. Based on criteria from these guidelines, the walleye and northern pike fisheries on Marie Lake were classified as vulnerable and stable, respectively. This report summarizes results of a joint creel survey conducted by the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) and ASRD during the summer of 2004 to evaluate the efficacy of the WMRP and NPMRP in aiding recovery of the Marie Lake fisheries.

A total of 667 anglers were interviewed on Marie Lake during the 2004 survey, 87% of which targeted walleye and 3% targeted pike; the remaining 10% did not have a preference. An estimated 3,731 (95% CI = 3,056 - 4,395) anglers fished Marie Lake during the survey period with associated effort of 10,666 angler-h (95% CI = 8,889 - 12,493, n = 2,016.25) or 2.9 angler-h/ha. Estimated angler harvest of walleye was 408 fish (95% CI = 323 - 500, n = 154), with an associated total yield (corrected for incidental mortality) of 0.21 kg/ha (95% CI = 0.17 - 0.25). Overall, anglers released an estimated 1,853 walleye (95% CI = 1,257 - 2,475, n = 726). An estimated 35 northern pike were harvested (95% CI = 26 - 44, n = 17) with an associated total yield of 0.03 kg/ha (95% CI = 0.02 - 0.04). Overall, anglers released an estimated 272 pike (95% CI = 224 - 328, n = 94).

Following the WMRP, the 2004 creel survey of Marie Lake indicated strong densities of ages 6 to 9 walleye supporting a stable age-class distribution represented by ages 4 through 14. However, the 10 to 14-year age-classes were less represented. The walleye fishery was composed of fast growing and slow maturing fish. The northern pike fishery was composed of fast growing fish at a very low catch rate. The age-class distribution was represented by ages 2 to 9 pike and dominated by ages 2 and 3.

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