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6/22/2017 10:53 am  #1


i remember this topic being discussed in the old forum.  Concern was pike could get into Opeongo via the Opeongo River from Booth Lake (even though there is a dam), or perhaps ice fishing with pike minnows, etc. (which is illegal).

Has anyone ever caught a pike in Opeongo?


Tripping in Algonquin Park is not about seeking shelter from a storm, tripping in Algonquin Park is about dancing in the rain!

6/23/2017 10:51 am  #2


This has been a concern for over a decade. I haven't heard of anyone catching a pike but they are right below the dam in Annie's bay which is why it's a sanctuary there.


6/23/2017 12:05 pm  #3


Yes. I knew about the dam at Annie's Bay and the pike and sanctuary there.  Thankfully, they are still there and not in Opeongo.

Tripping in Algonquin Park is not about seeking shelter from a storm, tripping in Algonquin Park is about dancing in the rain!
     Thread Starter

6/23/2017 3:13 pm  #4


The only way they could get into ope is through human intervention. Hopefully that doesn't happen.


6/23/2017 3:56 pm  #5


Unfortunately it's a matter of time until some dumbass decides to catch a few at the bottom of the dam, then release them at the top (for god only knows what reason or rationale). Sadly, it wouldn't be the first time it happened either.


6/23/2017 6:11 pm  #6


There was talk around the shop a few years ago that some made it into Opeongo the year the dam gave way but the "Official " word from the Park is no pike in Opeongo.
I beleove there were phone calls made to a few groups camped in the Eadt Arm that year asking if they had caught any.


6/23/2017 9:05 pm  #7


The Columbia River is host to a Northern Pikeminnow derby (bounty), wherein fishermen/women are paid for every fish they deliver to a designated station. This is done to ease the pressure on salmon fry in that river. It would be interesting to see something similar in Booth, etc. Is it presumed that if pike were eliminated from that system (down to Shall), then those lakes would remain pike-less? Or did they originally come up from Victoria on their own?

In any case, increasing the pressure on pike in those lakes would only help the cause. I guess it might be weird to target a sport fish so intensely (vs the pikeminnow which I don't think is classified as a sport fish), but it sounds like the repercussions of them getting into Opeongo would be severe. And fishermen/women can have quite an effect on populations!


6/24/2017 3:14 am  #8


Yes, Pike in Opeongo would DEFINITELY have an impact on the lake trout population.

Yes pray that it does not happen!  I do like you pike bounty, but in Ontario and in Algonquin Park, a bounty on a game fish is not going to happen.  Even though I hate catching pike, many love catching them......and that is the conundrum when it comes to pike in Opeongo.

Last edited by boknows (6/24/2017 3:18 am)

Tripping in Algonquin Park is not about seeking shelter from a storm, tripping in Algonquin Park is about dancing in the rain!
     Thread Starter

6/24/2017 4:37 pm  #9


I like catching pike, and look forward to trying to on Crotch Lake later this summer, but I'd gladly give that up for the sake of the natural species communities in these lakes being restored.

That's never going to happen though, at least not through angling. The best we can do is try to depress their densities a little bit to reduce the chances of them spreading further.

By the way, while I've heard nothing to suggest that pike have made it into Opeongo, this research paper from 2011 suggests that pike have made it into Bridle (from Farm) and Galeairy (from Rapid). Also that walleye have gotten into Rock Lake (from Galeairy), largemouth bass are now in the Opeongo River system up to Farm and the Madawaska River system up to Whitefish, and rock bass are as widespread as pike in the Opeongo River system.


6/26/2017 10:11 am  #10


Fish species can also be spread by eggs that adhere to the feet/legs of wading birds such as Herons and are accidentally deposited in a new water body.  Not sure of Pike nesting habits and whether they nest in shallows where herons feed...but this is a "natural" way of an invasive species being introduced to new areas.


6/26/2017 11:10 am  #11


Maybe it's worth mentioning that northern pike and lake trout can coexist in many northern lakes and both species will produce well enough to provide catch for anglers... Opeongo's lake trout may or may not decline, difficult to predict. Still, not a good thing to have non-residents or exotics moving in.

Damage to brook trout, the few still remaining in Opeongo and wherever else in the watershed, is more likely... BT don't compete well with or survive predators like pike along with other introductions, SM bass for example.

Last edited by frozentripper (6/26/2017 11:10 am)


6/26/2017 6:50 pm  #12


Ecologically speaking, every lake is an island. Yes, northern pike and lake trout coexist in many lakes, but every lake offers a different set of conditions. Even within those physical parameters, fish populations in each lake are adapted to coexistence with the other species that are native to that lake. Little quirks like the exact timing of the spawn explain why (for example) muskie coexist with pike in some waters, exclude pike in others, and are excluded by pike in still others. The introduction of a new species to a lake can devastate the locally native species even if the same species coexist in other lakes, or it might not... brook trout have done much better coexisting with introduced smallies in Ragged Lake, for example, than in other APP lakes with introduced bass.

For what it's worth, the Fishing in Algonquin Provincial Park booklet predicts the following impacts if pike make it into Opeongo (my paraphrasing):
- Pike will transmit a harmful parasite to whitefish
- Lake trout will be forced away from the shallow littoral areas that they use for feeding during cold seasons, which will stunt their growth
- The few brook trout left in Opeongo will become even more insignificant in number and impossible to restore
- Pike are better at getting through shallow water barriers than bass, so from Opeongo they could get into unspoiled trout lakes in the watershed that don't have bass yet
- Smallmouth bass would be heavily impacted through competition and predation (though of course they're introduced as well so take your pick)

PaPaddler, thanks for pointing out the bird feet pathway. Park literature and management seems to focus on anglers being the way fish like pike get transferred over dams, hence the fishing prohibitions around dams and stuff... but to be honest I have some trouble believing that people would actually catch a pike, carry it up a portage trail around a dam, and release it on the other side... AND it survives this whole ordeal... AND this happens enough times within a pike's lifetime to establish a breeding population on the other side. But maybe folks have seen it happen? I've wondered if eagles and ospreys dropping their catch could be a factor.


6/26/2017 8:22 pm  #13


Another factor complicating Opeongo's response is the introduction of lake herring or cisco in 1948, which was intended to boost lake trout production and harvest. And it seems that that introduction was successful, although spawning may have been delayed to older fish. Lake herring can be pelagic meaning that trout can find and feed on them in open water far from shore, where pike won't be, so there will be some separation.

Apparently the smallmouth bass introduction in 1928 did not affect lake trout harvest, maybe again because there wasn't much ecological overlap. Anyway, the situation is complicated and making predictions is risky. But the fact that many Ontario lakes do have coexisting northern pike and lake trout populations and it doesn't make much difference in harvest if one is present with the other, seems to suggest that, like the LH and SMB introductions of the past, it might not be a total disaster. Then, OTOH, it could be, which does add more interest to the picture, maybe something like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Sheesh, exotics, when are the asian carp coming...


6/27/2017 7:20 am  #14


Just a little bit on exotics invasions... the usual story being given on how this happens is roads and minnow buckets being emptied where they shouldn't be. APP has hundreds of roads passing near formerly remote lakes and there will always be those characters driving and tossing minnows around with possibly some non-minnow species being included in the bucket. Illegal of course, but the opportunity to fish with minnows because they can and get away with it, too good to resist.

Outside the park, cottagers at times have an attitude... "well, this is my property, this is my lake, and I'll do whatever I please with it"... without much awareness of natural values and how things are and should be in their natural state. Carp, pike, bass - incoming, whatever's the favorite to fish for that day. Illegal again, and good luck to enforcement staff trying to keep track of thousands of cottagers doing whatever it is they want to do with their lake.

Last edited by frozentripper (6/27/2017 7:21 am)


6/27/2017 7:33 am  #15


I'd agree that smallmouth bass introductions didn't impact lake trout much, mostly brook trout, and the same would be true of pike just with a somewhat heavier impact on both species. There's a case to be made that of all the lakes that could get infected with pike, Opeongo isn't the worst, since much of the damage introduced predators can do has already been done by smallmouth bass. But the park booklet makes an interesting point about pike being better able to get upstream into new lakes than bass. Maybe the real worry should be pike getting from Crotch Lake over the falls and old dams into Shirley, which is still an unspoiled lake trout lake, and is connected by creek to Round Island and others.

And yes I'm aware of the "bait bucket pathway", I imagine it's a major source of perch invasion (which can be harmful to brook trout), but pike? Does anyone go fishing with a bucket full of baby pike?


6/27/2017 8:22 am  #16


Well, Algonquin lakes have remained free of pike for thousands of years, maybe as much as 10,000 years since glaciation, so my gut tells me that the "natural" pathways of pike invasion, by birds or over waterfalls in high water haven't been too effective in allowing them to extend their range over that long time period. The inflow of exotics seems to have occurred very recently, at the same time that roads were being built. My bet is on roads being an effective pathway for invasion, but who knows.

It's possible that there may be pike fry accidentally mixed in with minnows in the bucket, or the bucket fishermen may be releasing pike intentionally.... again who knows for sure, they're getting in one way or another, and roads and easy access probably have something to do with that.


6/27/2017 6:59 pm  #17


To clarify, I certainly agree that human introduction (intentional or not) is what gets a fish like pike into an area or river system like the Opeongo. What I'm wondering about bird-related pathways is pike getting across barriers like dams within that river system. Maybe birds etc could carry pike or their eggs for such short distances only?


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