Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Institute for Fisheries Research Report No. 1781, 1971

Management of Spawning Marshes for Northern Pike

John E. Williams and Buddy L. Jacob

      Abstract.-The northern pike is a favored game fish. Also it appears to serve as an important predator in keeping yellow perch populations under control, but it has little effect on bluegill populations. Pike populations are at low levels in most lakes because of heavy angling pressure and because of the loss of spawning marshes. Management of spawning marshes increases and stabilizes recruitment. Marsh management gives better returns than natural spawning marshes by: (1) maintaining high waterlevels, (2) controlling stocking rate, (3) eliminating fish predators and competitors, and (4) getting better growth and survival through fertilization. However, production of fingerling pike, after 1-3 months in the marsh, is highly variable; for 12 marshes in Michigan it ranged from 1 to 13,000, but averaged 2,941 two-inch fingerlings per acre per year. Nevertheless, intensive marsh management on 25 lakes increased the populations of adult pike in the lakes from 1.1 to 5.3 per acre, Loss of pike spawners in marshes appears to be high; hence stocking pike fry in artificial marshes is being evaluated. Hatching pike fry in troughs appears to be another promising approach.