Northern Pike (lakes) FSI

Artist rendering of a Northern Pike

The Northern Pike (lakes) Fish Sustainability Index (FSI) combines scientific and local knowledge to assess the status of lake dwelling northern pike in Alberta. Alberta northern pike populations in rivers will be assessed separately.

Northern Pike FSI Maps

Adult Density (Current and Historic)

Stocked lake populations are denoted with a circle. Please note that data reliability is not currently displayed in these figures.

Habitat and Overharvest Protection Needs

Please note that data reliability is not currently displayed in these figures.

Northern pike FSI spatial layers can be viewed on our interactive web mapping platform.

Northern Pike Population Status

Historically, northern pike were present in most Alberta’s fish-bearing lakes. Although there are stocking records indicating northern pike have been introduced to some waterbodies as a part of fisheries enhancement programs or adult fish transfers, overall stocking efforts for this species have been minimal compared to other sport fish species. Many Alberta lakes are too cold or naturally limited by low oxygen or high salinity and would not have supported northern pike or other sport fish species.

Historically, about 3/4 of pike populations were considered abundant, however today, only 1/3 of populations remain good.

  • Historical status (adult density): 73%, 345/474 populations at low to moderate risk.
  • Current status (adult density): 32%, 153/475 populations at low to moderate risk.

For further information, see:

Threats to Sustainability

The main threats to sustainability of pike in lakes were noted as:

  • Overharvest (including accidental hooking mortality and poaching) continues to threaten northern pike sustainability, although more stringent regulations based on conservation principles have resulted in the partial recovery of populations at numerous lakes.
  • Nutrient runoff from development (mainly agriculture and urbanization, but also land clearing and road development from forestry and oil and gas industries) in the surrounding watershed has resulted in algae blooms and declining oxygen levels, which has increased the frequency of fish summer and winter kills in lakes.
  • Increasing cumulative development pressures (e.g. industrial, residential, and recreational) along lake and river shorelines has the potential to reduce the amount of available spawning, rearing and feeding habitat for northern pike and other forage fish species that support northern pike populations.

Next Steps

  • Standardize northern pike monitoring using provincially-consistent index netting protocols.
  • Determine realistic local and regional goals for different pike fisheries through consultation with First Nations, anglers and Alberta’s public. Design and implement effective regulations and management tools to achieve these goals.
  • Ensure watershed planning activities and groups understand the links between development, water quality and healthy ecosystems. These processes and groups must be held accountable for their role in conserving clean water and healthy fisheries.
  • Implement simple and effective sport fishing regulations, with goals of providing more sport fishing opportunities and recovering fisheries

Related Information

 

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Updated: Feb 6, 2018