Silver Minnow Bait Shop. 270 Mitchell Rd and NEW LOCATION: 418 Piccadilly Ave. Call 807-683-3778
Click here for our website.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Roger Mayer

Predator/Prey. My Opinion.

24 posts in this topic

This might be a long winded post.

 

I have been fishing a long time. I have seen a few lakes go through some positive changes and some not so good because the mentality of pike/walleye relationships.

 

There are still many people out there that have a way of thinking that if you catch a pike that you should kill it as the pike population will eat all the walleye. I really don't understand this way of thinking. I agree that pike eat walleye but I also believe that if you think that pike eat all the walleye, we would never even really know what a walleye was as the pike would have ate them all before we even existed!

 

I remember when this kill all pike attitude was in full swing. Whitefish Lake was a prime example of this. Many years ago it was common to be fishing and see dead pike with their heads bashed in or their throats slashed floating in the lake. Strangely enough we caught tonnes of small walleye. Nothing was keeping the walleye in check other than anglers who for many years culled out many of the eater sized fish. It got to a point that pike were almost gone from the lake.

 

Now fast forward to today. There is now a decent population of pike in the lake and there is a very healthy population of walleye of all sizes. Even a very healthy population of smallmouth!

 

We all have to understand that a healthy predator/prey population is a very healthy thing for our lakes.

 

Now this also extends to wolf/coyote vs deer populations. We need to have both. We also have to remember that everything is cyclical in nature. I keep reading stuff like the only good wolf is a dead wolf. Coyotes are just vermin and it's because of these predators that our deer population will go down.

 

I don't believe this at all. Hunters and hunter groups really pushed to be able to hunt in city limits because the deer population was out of control. I said to myself, right on. I have a bit of a drive home every day and have to play dodge the deer. And a few times I couldn't dodge them! Ha Ha.

 

But then I would see wolves and coyotes like crazy being shot.

 

I get it. Hunt for wolves or coyotes for sport or a hat or a mount. I understand that. I'm not against hunting at all. What I hate hearing is the sole excuse for killing one is because they hurt the deer population. When I hear that excuse then I can't help but think that the animal is going to go to waste because it got shot for no other reason.

 

And this may or not be hunting related but just don't like seeing it.

 

 

3legs.jpg


R.T.R. Respect the resource!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry but the few hunters that target wolves and coyotes are able to buy 2 licenses, thats it. I highly doubt that wolves and yotes' are "like crazy being shot". Have you ever tried hunting wolves or coyotes? Not the easiest thing to do, especially in the winter months around here.   Hopefully the northwestern ontario trappers were able to reduce the wolf population to help out the deer and moose. Same thing goes for the hunters that were able to kill a bear this spring.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep. 2 licences per hunter. I get that.

 

I used to work at a local sporting goods store. Heard many tales of how wolves and coyotes were "blasted" because they are bringing down the deer population.

 

I'm not condemning the ethical hunter.

 

Roger

 

 


R.T.R. Respect the resource!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not the ethical hunters that's the problem. It's the people who illegally shoot any wolf or coyote they see thinking it's helping everyone out. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's my take on this . Walleyes and pike have coexisted in the same bodies of water for yrs. At one time there was a misconception that the pike eat all the pickerel. Pike will hit a wally when a chance comes but to feed on walleye alone no.

Pike prefer soft finned tube shaped soft finned fish like suckers, whitefish , etc. When they get 10 plus lbs. they'll take in a 2 lb sucker and may not eat again for days. Big pike will hit there prey from the side stun it then down it, on more then one occasion I've seen a pike with a wally stuck sideways in his mouth.

  As for the wolves and coyotes , if the deer pop. is high the wolf pop. will grow especially if it's a rough winter this gives the wolves an advantage good winters helps the deer pop. If deer pop. drops the wolf pop. will too . It' the cycle of life in the animal world. For people shooting them and thinking there doing some good they could never be so wrong.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

-UM....walleye chow down on young pike all the time.  It might be the reason why the pike population in Dog Lake has been in decline with the growth of the walleye fishery.  You'd think Dog Lake would be heaven for big pike. Not anymore.  Young pike painted crankbaits are awesome on walleye.  Just saying.  

 

Nay nay on a wolf/coyote cull.  Deer and moose NEED wolves to keep them in prime shape.  + 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, pastor norm said:

-UM....walleye chow down on young pike all the time.  It might be the reason why the pike population in Dog Lake has been in decline with the growth of the walleye fishery.  You'd think Dog Lake would be heaven for big pike. Not anymore.  Young pike painted crankbaits are awesome on walleye.  Just saying.  

 

Nay nay on a wolf/coyote cull.  Deer and moose NEED wolves to keep them in prime shape.  + 

Years ago I did a little research for an article I wrote , I talked to a biologist from the mnr. and we talked about pike and walleye , he had mentioned if you took a pike lake and a walleye lake of the same size and food source over fish them both the same the walleye lake would bounce back quicker than the pike lake if it were to come back at all. Apparently pike have a hard time rejuvenating. I'm willing to bet the reason for the drop in the pike pop. is due to the smallmouth. I know of a few lakes that had good walleye and pike pop. once the bass showed up the pike pop. went down hill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't remember when the last time I caught a pike at sandstone but the walleye fishing has gotten better. Also the whitefish are definitely abundant and big ones too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, gsambray said:

I can't remember when the last time I caught a pike at sandstone but the walleye fishing has gotten better. Also the whitefish are definitely abundant and big ones too. 

I agree with you but the wally fishing has always been good , it just not a lake that you would get your limit regularly. Pike have dropped off but at one time catching a bass was few and far between and catching pike was more common , now it's chucked full of bass and the pike are all but gone . This same scenario has happened to a few lakes up that road . Of all the wally's and pike I've caught I have never seen one in the others belly not even a fry. Remember they have lived together in many of our lakes for years.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I caught a decent sized pike at Shebs last week. It was mighty tasty. But it had a partially digested walleye about 10-11 inches in its belly.  No question pike eat walleye.  And no question walleye eat young pike.  If given the opportunity, they might even prefer a pike because of lack of spines but you will have to ask the walleye themselves to confirm this, of course.  And arvy, I think you are right about the bass being a major predator to pike.  They cruise the shorelines and occupy the same shallow structures as pike during summer months.  Its a fish eat fish world out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could be climate change too. Warmer weather changing water and feed types. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just ask the elk hunters in Wyoming, Montana & Idaho if the introduction of the gray wolf was beneficial to the elk herds.  A pack of wolves will kill everything in their area and then will meander into another wolf pack's territory and they will fight to the death over that territory.  A coyote or fox going into a wolf packs territory, does so at its peril.  Predators keep one another in check as they compete for food - the prey just keep breeding to keep the predators in existence.  If there's no predators in the area, the food supply and disease is what keeps the prey at a sustaining level.

 

I know of one lake where there use to be walleyes and pike 40 years ago - today, there are no walleyes.  I don't know the cause, as we caught no large pike (20+ pounds) either.  Best guess is the forage fish is limited and the pike won the war but they too are in a losing battle.

 

I've never seen a big pike or muskie hit any fish or bait from the rear or the front - always midship and they hang on with a tremendous bite - that's why a small Rapala is deadly to muskies, while that huge spoon with a single treble rear hook normally gets spit out close to your boat.;)

 

I don't know if a big female walleye will take a 5/6 pound pike but I do know a big pike will take a 5# walleye, as I had one go around with a 5# walleye and when I got her up so she broke water 10/12 feet from the boat - a big snake boiled up and the fight was on.  That was about a 90 second battle before the pike let go and I returned that walleye back to the lake with some long gashes on its back - stomach was fine.  I've caught a few pike around 10#'s that had fairly fresh "fight" marks running over their backs/sides from something that targeted it for lunch - not prop marks either.          

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as keeping predators, such as coyotes/fox in check by using firearms, that will never happen unless every able bodied man would go into the field with the clear objective to eliminate the wolf/coyote/fox.  The trapper can do a fair job in keeping them in check and using poison will get them all over time. 

 

The wolf/coyote/fox when hunted is as smart as the crow/raven when hunted - I try and shoot coyote when prime for money that their pelts bring - they are easy to call in if never hunted - when hunted they normally always take the time to get your scent, as the calls means nothing to them - much like most of us - actions (scent) speak louder that Words(call sounds).;)  

 

A lot of coyote hunters think their numbers are down because they never see many - I think a whole lot of coyotes got their scent and went on their way.  I've seen them start their circle 600 yards out in tall grass - my partner sometimes would try an intercept angle but never saw hide nor hair.  Best results would be at night with an elevation advantage, rifle suppressed with a good thermal scope sight - I need to shoot a whole lot more coyotes to afford that set-up - even then, wouldn't amount to anything if everyone did that for the purpose of keeping the coyote in check.  Just my opinion of course.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, gsambray said:

I can't remember when the last time I caught a pike at sandstone but the walleye fishing has gotten better. Also the whitefish are definitely abundant and big ones too. 

This is true climate change does have an affect. Take lake trout and smallies as climate change warms the water , and water levels drop trout have to go deeper to find their comfort zone hence making their house smaller were as smallies thrive in the warmer water. This could apply in other areas and species as well as the food source. oooppps wrong quote.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most predation is on the young, of course. It's not a boxing match. Walleye eat their own young just as pike do. It's one of my personal principles for sport fishing and hunting:  Kill only animals which don't seem to mourn the loss of their young or their partners.  Kill only if it's a matter of my own personal survival.  Never kill just because I think I am doing the environment a favour -- unless it's an invasive species that is outlawed according to the conservation authorities. Respect the rights of hunters and trappers who feel differently than I do. 

 

A big lake trout will engulf a 2 lb jack no problem. All three of these predators feed on whitefish who also occasionally feed on the young of the others. Discover where the young northern pike are lurking and what time of year and you will figure out what is causing the greatest predation on them.  Walleye eating them in the river (my guess for Dog Lake)? Bass eating them in the shallows and rockpiles?  Big pike eating juveniles in the spawning bays?  Lakers feasting on them as they go deep?  There are also environmental stressors on these fish besides other fish devouring them, as mentioned above.  

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything has it's place.

 

This is a pretty cool video about the unexpected benefits a species might have. Yellowstone park reintroduced wolves and it completely changed the entire ecosystem. The environment is extremely complex and it's very hard to predict what type of impact seemingly small things can have.

 

I tend to only kill stuff I plan on eating, or I eat stuff I inadvertently kill. I didn't even kill ruffe unless I gut hooked them. Now you are supposed to kill them. As of November 2016, Ruffe got added to the "destroy upon capture" part of the regs. I am tempted to find out if they are any decent eating... but I think that could be a very bad idea

 

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People culling a species negatively impacts the species they are trying to protect... not to mention the entire ecosystem. For example, killing a pike to save a walleye... might make sense to some, but I bet that pike eats (or would prefer to eat) a lot of suckers and whitefish - no spines, whitefish are fattier, etc. I have caught a lot of whitefish in rivers in the Spring... and whitefish spawn in the Fall. So, what do you think those whitefish are doing in the rivers? My guess is they are following the spawning fish (like walleye) to eat the eggs/spawn. they also eat a lot of fry. And there is only one or two species of fish in these parts capable of eating a large whitefish or sucker. 

 

Yellowstone is a perfect example of the need for alpha predators, and what happens when 'man' messes with nature's balance - and what can happen when that balance returns. 

 

I too have found that pike populations seem to dwindle when bass arrive on the scene. 

 

Culling in the interest of predator/prey relationships is incredibly shortsighted - and just plain illogical. 

1 person likes this

Many Men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.

- Henry David Thoreau

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, James01 said:

Culling in the interest of predator/prey relationships is incredibly shortsighted 

 

Not to mention the fact that today's trash is tomorrow's treasure...less than a hundred years ago no self-respecting sportsman would waste his time with walleye - and when they did catch them, they killed them, figuring that they ate brook trout.  Once upon a time the government had a targeted culling program for walleye, with the logic that they ate young whitefish, which was the backbone of the commercial fishery.  Walleye were nothing more than a coarse fish.

3 people like this

I'm going out to fish. - John 21:3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

awesome information, ms.  thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, mad scientist said:

 

Not to mention the fact that today's trash is tomorrow's treasure...less than a hundred years ago no self-respecting sportsman would waste his time with walleye - and when they did catch them, they killed them, figuring that they ate brook trout.  Once upon a time the government had a targeted culling program for walleye, with the logic that they ate young whitefish, which was the backbone of the commercial fishery.  Walleye were nothing more than a coarse fish.

 

I did not know this... very interesting, and a little shocking. Although, the reasoning about whitefish and commercial fishing does make sense. 

 

So, if walleye were a trash fish, what did that make bass? ;)


Many Men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.

- Henry David Thoreau

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, James01 said:

 

I did not know this... very interesting, and a little shocking.

Here are a couple of choice quotes about walleye from the sportfishing writers of the 19th Century:

 

It's play is weak and dull, and as it is taken with strong tackle, its capture requires neither the skill nor experience that lend the principal charm to angling; and by comparison with sea-fish, its flavor is coarse. - Roosevelt, 1865

 

...and this one, about a fishing trip to St. Ignace Island in Nipigon Bay....

 

No one bothers catching these (walleye) as the surrounding waters yield an enormous supply of choicer fish among which are said to be ten varieties of the salmon family; besides the whitefish, some of which attain to seventeen pounds in weight! - Thomson, 1877

2 people like this

I'm going out to fish. - John 21:3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with the "play is weak and dull" comment... after catching steelhead throughout the Spring (and still), hooking a walleye leaves a lot to be desired. But then, I would rather eat walleye. 


Many Men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.

- Henry David Thoreau

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah, it is pretty crazy how we often fail to notice the value of things for far too long.

 

I've been reading some of the stuff from the early 1800s as well, they were called "doree" and in some old fishing records they never distinguished between them and suckers. Either discarded, given away, or fed to the dogs. Even modern day we still regard suckers as trash fish.

 

Lake Sturgeon prior to 1850 were considered a nuisance.They would destroy nets when they got entangled, so people typically didn't like them, although they did use them for food, fuel, and the stomache lining (isinglass) for a number of things. Now you aren't even allowed to fish for them here, because they were so valuable, we almost wiped them out.

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • TBF ADVERTISERS

    Advertisers

  • Donate to T.B.F.

    Help me out here folks! All donations go back into upgrading the site!


    5% of donation goal reached.
    Donate Sidebar by DevFuse
  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.