Fisheries, Subsistence, and Habitat
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Division: Sport Fish
Title: Alexander Creek northern pike suppression
Author: Dunker, K. and D. Rutz
Year: 2013
Report ID: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Sport Fish, Regional Operational Plan ROP.SF.2A.2013.09, Anchorage.
Abstract: Invasive northern pike Esox lucius pose a significant threat to salmon habitats in Southcentral Alaska. hey were introduced by anglers to the Yentna River drainage in the late 1950’s and subsequently spread throughout the Susitna River basin through flood events and further illegal stockings. Since the late 1990s, northern pike have reduced the population size of multiple fish species in the Alexander Creek drainage. Fisheries of Alexander Creek historically generated an average of 13,700 angler-days of effort annually for the 20-year period from 1980-1999. During that same period, the Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha fishery contributed greater than 90% of the expended effort, and an average of 2,880 Chinook salmon were harvested annually. In an attempt to reduce northern pike abundance and increase salmonid productivity within Alexander Creek, ADF&G is conducting a long-term northern pike suppression effort. Feasibility studies conducted in 2009 and 2010 demonstrated that such an annual goal was possible (Oslund and Ivey 2010), and in 2011, during the first year of the project, over 4,000 northern pike were removed from Alexander Creek sloughs. Northern pike gillnetting is conducted during the pike spawning period (ice-out to early June) when pike are most mobile and concentrated in the Alexander Creek sloughs. Alexander Creek is recognized as the Sport Fish Division’s highest invasive northern pike control priority. Specific objectives of this project in 2013 are to (1) reduce the number of northern pike in 36 side channel sloughs of Alexander Creek between May 7 and June 7, (2) estimate the proportion of northern pike residing in Alexander Lake that migrate at least once to Alexander Creek from July 15, 2011 – June 30, 2013, and (3) calculate the mean CPUE of juvenile salmonids from minnow trap surveys in Alexander Creek to evaluate if a 60% increase in mean CPUE above the 2011 baseline of 0.06 has occurred.
Keywords: Alexander Creek, northern pike, Yentna River drainage, invasive