Fisheries managers on both sides of the border are renewing efforts to control the northern pike population in the Columbia River and keep the invasive species corralled above the Grand Coulee Dam.
Columbia Basin Trust, BC Hydro, and the province’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) joined forces to fund this year’s program and secured the services of Wood Environmental and Mountain Water Research (MWR) to continue with a pike suppression program for the Columbia River, from the Hugh Keenlyside Dam to the US border, and the Canadian section of the Pend d’Oreille Reservoir.
“It is the first time that we’ve been in the Pend d’Oreille and that anyone has sampled other than Dan (Dan Doutaz, a Thompson Rivers University master’s student),” said MWR biologist Jeremy Baxter. “We just wanted to get a general idea of what the abundance was like and where they might be spawning and to try to suppress them prior to spawning as well.”
See more on pike suppression on the Columbia River
The largest from the the Pend d’Oreille measured about 80-cm (31.5 inches) and from the Columbia 90 cm (36-inches), but for Baxter the timing was perfect.
Gill netting efforts began the first week of May, with two days of sampling in the Seven Mile Reservoir and three days in Waneta. Over the five days, the MWR crew netted a dozen northern pike in the two sections.
“It was a little bit less than I expected, but to tell you the truth, the water was extremely high and it was very turbid, and so there wasn’t a lot of littoral zones,” said Baxter. “But we caught them in all the same spots that Dan had sampled.”