Pike Factories

Pike Factories

Viking Lars | Saturday, 25 January 2020

Northern pike are an interesting species. They are for one, northern, and they are wide spread in Northern Europe where just about any body of freshwater (running or still) potentially can have pike in them. The very interesting part about this fish is that they are also able to live in brackish water, just as for instance perch are.
It’s a vulnerable species, though. They salinity tolerance is low and historically there has been many incidents with influx of high saline salt water to their habitats and the result is a near-collapse of the population.

They have also been targeted with nets and other methods and in the last 25 years a decline in their spawning habitats has also been challenging the populations. Regarding spawning it seems that within the same habitat, some spawn by migrating to freshwater, others seem to spawn in brackish water. Scale analysis (and strontium analysis) from Sweden has shown pike that never leave brackish water. What’s also interesting is that research indicated that their homing sense is even stronger and more precise than that of salmon and sea trout.

Unlike anadromous trout and salmon they do not spawn in shallow riffles, but prefer large, shallow and more still water and areas like that have been declining in numbers in Denmark for many years. High saline water influx, overfishing and a decline in spawning areas have put the population under pressure, and things are now being done.

The first socalled “pike factory” has been established after Swedish models, where they are very succesful. This one is connected to the Præst Ø inlet, which historically has been home to maybe the biggest and strongest population of brackish water pike in Denmark.

Check out this movie (link to YouTube, movie in Danish, but click on the English subtitles), which tells the entire story and why we need to (and should) help the brackish water population back on it’s fins.

Have a great weekend!

Lars