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Northern Pike

Ecology, Conservation, and Management History

Rodney B. Pierce

Publication Year: 2012

The northern pike—sometimes affectionately known as the “aquatic wolf”—is one of the most sought after and mythologized fishes in Minnesota, but until now there have been few books devoted to the history and ecological management of the species. Based on pioneering research carried out in Minnesota by leading pike specialist Rodney B. Pierce, Northern Pike Ecology, Conservation, and Management History is the most complete collection of information to date on the species, for everyone from scientists and conservation biologists to general readers and recreational anglers.

A tremendously important game fish and resource both in Minnesota and throughout the northern hemisphere, northern pike populations directly reflect local geology and human influence, playing a key role in the health of freshwater ecosystems. As urbanization spreads and the human population continues to grow, pike populations face increasing pressure, requiring new ways of looking at and managing the species. In Minnesota, groundbreaking work has been conducted on northern pike: analyses of stocking success and investigations into the relationships within fish communities, the management of rearing marshes, environmental effects on natural production, the genetics of northern pike, and strategies for scientifically monitoring pike. The state has been a leader in developing fishing regulations to help restore large pike, among many other measures designed to ensure the future quantity and health of a key species in Minnesota’s waterways.

Weaving significant historical scientific literature and technical details together with his own research, Pierce’s benchmark study documents and synthesizes the long history of northern pike management and describes the latest efforts being taken to better understand and manage this critical and renowned species.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press


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pp. 1-5


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pp. v-7

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pp. vii-9

This book is dedicated to career employees of the Department of Natural Resources in Minnesota and Wisconsin and of similar agencies elsewhere. The professional people I have encountered in the field of natural resources deserve much more credit than...

County Map of Minnesota

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pp. ix-11

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Introduction: Minnesota’s Northern Pike Legacy

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pp. xi-xv

The “aquatic wolf” was a creature of awe and mystery in the Old World, with early poems and folk tales alluding to its large size and predatory nature (Casselman 1996). Fearsome stories were told about northern pike attacking people and other creatures...

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1. The Ecology of Northern Pike

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pp. 1-69

Northern pike entered the consciousness of Old World scholars as early as the 12th and 13th centuries. Scientific nomenclature for pike was assigned by the Swedish botanist Linnaeus in 1758 during his effort to design a classification scheme for all living organisms....

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2. Recreational and Commercial Fishing

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pp. 71-90

Northern pike are valued principally as sport fish in Minnesota. One of the reasons for their popularity is that pike are very vulnerable to angling and are readily caught with spoons, spinners, lures, and bait (Figure 2.1). Pike fingerlings barely larger than 25...

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3. Conservation and Management of Northern Pike

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pp. 91-134

Loss of critical habitat has been an important issue for maintaining northern pike populations (Casselman and Lewis 1996; Margenau et al. 2008). Draining and filling of wetlands and so-called “improvement” of shorelines for lake homes have been increasingly...

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4. Sampling Northern Pike Populations

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pp. 135-173

Experimental gill netting and trap netting have been the two principal techniques for sampling fish populations during lake surveys in Minnesota since lake survey methods were standardized in a manual by John Moyle and Charles Burrows in 1954. Early on,...

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Closing Thoughts about Pike Management in Minnesota

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pp. 175-181

The future of northern pike management in Minnesota is closely tied to social questions. For example, how will we partition the use of pike resources among all the groups interested in pike fishing? In most lakes, we will need to choose between management...


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pp. 183-201


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pp. 203-205

E-ISBN-13: 9780816682430
E-ISBN-10: 0816682437
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816679546

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2012