Do northerns eat a lot walleye and if so, would it be a good idea to remove larger northern pike (over 30") from certain lakes to improve walleye populations?
Do northerns eat a lot of walleye?
All predator fish eat other fish, simple as that. An 18” northern can eat their fair share as well so limiting it to pike over 30” wouldn’t much matter. Just like on the shark attack shows people try to defend the poor shark and say they only eat humans by mistake. B.S. they’re a predator they’re going to eat whatever they can when an opportunity presents itself.
Nope, not anymore than walleye eat northerns or bass etc. All of them eat each others fry and young fish and bluegill probably do as well.
People who believe this are misguided. Pike mostly eat small panfish as do other Apex predators. (They also eat small ducks, turtles anything they can swallow)
There are a lot of misguided people out there...I have seen Pike thrown up on the shore like a a common carp...
The other fish I see people kill and toss on shore a lot (which is ILLEGAL) are Bowfins.
Bowfins are a Apex predator just like a pike or bass, so when I see a video on youtube of some kid catching a Bowfin and then sticking a knife in it's head and tossing it because they think it's a snakehead...wow.
And before anyone says anything it's Illegal to dump any fish on shore rough fish or not.
My 2 cents. I have fished Canada lakes. The less pressure from sport fisherman, the more the lake stays in balance. Lots of big pike and walleye up there. But not necessarily limits. Now look at an average lake in Wisconsin. As soon as the word gets out, people hammer the lake for whatever species is hitting there. As the lake gets "out of balance", which many seem to be, small perch flourish, perch eat small minnows and game fish fry, now we need to stock the lakes to fill in the predator gap, and give us some predator fish to catch. The 1% survival rate of fry is no surprise. The much higher survival rate of bigger stocked fish is also a no brainer. I see it as pan fish cleaning up the small fry.
Sport fishing for predator fish does have an impact. CPR, which really didn't exist for most of my life, I think is a huge factor, and something even I practice to my wife's surprise.
My point is, we need more of ALL the top predators in our lakes. I am optimistic of things in the future, only because of CPR, and the work of our DNR to fill the gap.
Jc. I studied Limnology of and on for a couple of years. What you have posted is a very accurate, thoughtful posting, especially with the mention of septic systems. CARPIO
JC Wisconsin, I used to catch a lot of small perch for bait on the lake I live near, but they are gone. Not just fewer of them, the flat I used to fish for bait is almost completely void of perch.
It probably has something to do with the zebra mussels filtering out the perch fry's food, it may have something to do with increased populations of pike, both northern and walleye. But, I would think the perch and walleye fry both eat the same zooplankton so I really don't know.
There is a ton of information out there, but you have to find it. Of course killing all the bass on lakes with little to no natural walleye reproduction is not going to result in more walleye. Without the right habitat, it is going to be a bass/panfish lake unless stocking is occurring regularly. Killing all the bass also isn't going to necessarily result in you catching more walleye even if the population rebounds. Forage fish (perch, lake shiners, etc.) will likely recover, resulting in a better prey/forage ratio which means it may be tougher to catch walleye and would result in less bass to catch. Over time however, lakes should rebound. I catch WAY less total fish in the lakes I fish, and not necessarily that many more walleyes. But I have seen the fish survey reports that show walleye populations have increased...so I don't care that I am catching less total fish right now. Going out in an afternoon fishing walleye, and catching 20 largemouth bass on accident had verified something was off.
Lakes getting older - I don't see this as a valid argument either, at least for inland lakes. To have a lake turn from oligotrophic to mesotrophic, or from mesotrophic to eutrophic takes a long time....much longer than our lifetimes. If anything, lakes have become less fertile in most areas with the removal of lakeshore septic systems dumping raw sewage directly into our lakes. Flowages however are a different breed due to all of the ag runoff that occurs every year.
How many lakes have crappie stocked into them? I know of no lakes with active crappie stocking programs beyond kid pond fisheries.
Global warming - I consider that hogwash why our lakes have become LM bass dominant over a span of only 20-30 years. Recent years we have had the latest ice outs that I can ever remember, and northwood lakes warming very slowly through May. For some reason age 0 fish are not making it to 6" long in a lot of lakes.
I think it is simple - overexploit one fish and protect another over a couple of decades can cause massive changes to a lake. I do also wonder how genetics plays into it. Stocking Mississippi River fry/fingerlings over decades has to have some impact on local ecosystems
Who cares about the walleyes they are over rated. Walleyes need to be stocked to be present. Look at how the DNR dicks everything up now they stock crappies everywhere so people can catch something, believe it or not people are proud of their crappie catches. Yes any fish with teeth eat that’s the way it is. Nothing hard about catching any of these aggressive eaters. One minute it’s to much sport fishing pressure, the next minute it’s spearing, or winter kill. All contributed in the prized fishes decline that is the way it is. Let’s just keep running to Vilas from all over the state because Gillespie says this is where to go for walleye. Drive buy better chances at fishing the fish. Bottom line this is Wisconsin.
That’s a good point I hadn’t thought of! I think they all eat each other! Lol
Walleyes probably eat more walleyes than any of the predator fish.