Northern pike (Esox lucius L.) introductions are controversial in the western United States due to suspected impacts they might have on established sport fisheries and potential illegal introductions. Tbree Arizona reservoirs, Parker Canyon Lake, Upper Lake Mary and Long Lake were sampled to examine the diet, consumption dynamics, and growth of northern pike. Northern pike diets varied by season and reservoir. In Parker Canyon Lake, diets were dominated by rainbow trout in winter and spring and bluegill and green sunfish in the fall. In Long Lake the northern pike ate crayfish in spring and early summer and switched to young of the year common carp in summer and fall. Black crappie, golden shiners, and crayfish were the major prey in Upper Lake Mary during spring, but they switched to stocked rainbow trout in the fall. Northern pike growth was in the high range of growth reported throughout the United States. Estimated northern pike specific consumption rate (scr) of rainbow trout (g/g/d ?? 10-6) was greatest in Upper Lake Mary (scr = 329.1 ?? 23.7 g/g/d ?? 10-6) where stocked fingerling (<120 mm total length [TL]) rainbow trout were most vulnerable to these predators, compared to larger (>280 mm TL) rainbow trout stocked in Long Lake (scr = 1.4 ?? 0.1 g/g/d ?? 10-6) and Parker Canyon Lake (scr = 287.2 ?? 15.1 g/g/d ?? 10-6) where catchable-sized rainbow trout were stocked. Managers should consider the cost-benefits of stocking fish >200 mm TL in lakes containing northern pike. ?? Copyright by the North American Lake Management Society 2008.
Additional publication details
Growth, condition, diet, and consumption rates of northern pike in three Arizona reservoirs