Fisheries, Subsistence, and Habitat
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Division: Sport Fish
Title: Restoration of salmonid habitat by control and removals of invasive northern pike, Kenai Peninsula, 2003.
Author: Begich, R. N., and T. R. McKinley
Year: 2005
Report ID: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Special Publication No. 05 07, Anchorage.
Abstract: Northern pike are not native to aquatic habitats of southcentral Alaska south of the Alaska Range. Introduction of northern pike into these freshwater systems may have deleterious effects on native fish, including various species of Pacific salmon. This project was an effort to restore salmonid habitat by removing northern pike known to inhabit freshwater ecosystems on the Kenai Peninsula. In 2003, 1,590 northern pike were captured and removed from three Kenai Peninsula Area lakes. Mean fork length of northern pike was 557 mm (SE = 16 mm) at Stormy Lake, 335 mm (SE = 3 mm) at West Mackey Lake and 352 mm (SE = 4 mm) at East Mackey Lake. Catch per unit effort for hoop nets deployed at Stormy Lake was 0.0021 northern pike per hour, while the catch per unit effort of gill nets used at East and West Mackey lakes was 0.1187 and 0.1434, respectively. Ninety percent of the northern pike sampled for maturity at Stormy Lake were mature. Northern pike ranged in age from 2 to 10 years old with the majority aged 4 to 6 years old. Time volunteered by community residents and schools were an integral component of this habitat restoration program, and improved the stewardship of community members towards freshwater salmonid habitats. We plan to continue netting operations on the Mackey lakes and initiate programs on other area lakes that contain northern pike. These efforts will allow us to evaluate if capture and removal of pike impacts the abundance and/or population structure of the northern pike, if netting is a cost effective tool to restore negatively impacted salmon habitat, and to further community-based stewardship of restoring aquatic habitats.
Keywords: Kenai Peninsula, Stormy Lake, East Mackey Lake, West Mackey Lake, habitat restoration, northern pike, invasive species