Hello All :   I am forwarding all of you interested in the Columbia River.   New regulations on ‘Northern Pike’ on the Columbia River, Kootenay River and Pend d O’reille River .  Some of you will catch one of these while walleye fishing this summer so now it is legal to keep these critters.   There have been at least 20 caught this year to date that i have heard about.   With the extreme water flows this year through the Pend d’Oreille river we will certainly see more of these in our waters.   This regulation is a good example of what our club can do to help promote positive regulation changes.   ok have a great summer of fishing.  More news will follow.  keep a tight line.   Rod Zavaduk.

Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2011 8:29 AM
Subject: Harvest of northern pike allowed in portions of the Columbia, Kootenay and Pend d’Oreille Rivers

Hi All,

The Kootenay Region recently (2009) implemented a blanket region-wide regulation that closed bass, perch, walleye, and northern pike (latter in 2007) to all fishing. The intent of this regulation was to discourage introductions, by eliminating the reward of a new fishery resulting from an illegal introduction. The regulation exempted specific waterbodies that had high use fisheries, established populations, and/or little chance of eradication in the near future, generally with higher daily quotas than prior to implementation. No exemptions for pike were implemented at that time.

In the period 2007-2009 northern pike had not yet been detected in the Columbia River. However, in recent years a few northern pike have been observed during BC Hydro river indexing surveys in portions of the Columbia and Pend d’Oreille River, in spite of the fact that indexing methods are not likely to consistently capture pike. Only in 2011 have pike become commonplace in angler catches, which suggests that numbers are increasing, and that anglers could provide a tool for control. The source of these northern pike is likely entrainment from reservoirs upstream in Washington State, on the Pend d’Oreille River. Populations here have been building for many years, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Kalispel Tribe fish biologists estimate more than 5000 pike in Box Canyon Reservoir alone (Figure 1). Counterpart fish biologists in Washington, Idaho and Montana suspect an illegal Montana introduction some years ago is the source of this transplant.

Because the source of these introductions is an established population in the USA, and not from illegal transplants in British Columbia, this population does not serve as a disincentive example and associated blanket regional regulations implemented to reduce illegal transplants. Given that the source populations in the USA are not likely to be eradicated (though Washington State sees pike as a problem, not an opportunity), and that there are no reliable methods to eliminate northern pike in the mainstem Columbia River, we are now allowing anglers be able to harvest northern pike. Allowing harvest accomplishes some removal control by anglers, sends a consistent message to anglers that we are not protecting this introduced population, and mirrors regulations on the Pend d’Oreille River in Washington State.

The Ministry has now amended the current fishing regulations, to allow harvest of northern pike in portions of the Columbia, Kootenay and Pend d’Oreille Rivers. This change has been approved recently, is in effect today, and will be reflected in the online version of the Regulations Synopsis soon. Specifically the regulation change is as follows:

Columbia River – northern pike daily quota = unlimited (from Keenleyside Dam downstream to the Washington State border);
Kootenay River – northern pike daily quota = unlimited (from the Brilliant Dam to the confluence with the Columbia River);
Pend d’Oreille River – northern pike daily quota = unlimited

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Cheers, Matt

Matt Neufeld
Fish Biologist
Resource Management – Kootenay-Boundary Region
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
#401-333 Victoria St Nelson, BC, V1L 4K3
(250) 354-6353