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Thesis - University Access Only
Master of Science (MS)
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Michael L. Brown
northern pike populations, south dakota, small impoundments
Populations of northern pike Esox lucius and largemouth bass MIcropterus salmoides in combination with yellow perch Perca flavescens and/or bluegill Lepomis machrochirus were studied in three small South Dakota impoundments to determine predator-prey relationships. Densities (number of fish ≥ stock length ha-1) of northern pike within the three ponds ranged from 6 to 20 in 1994 and 10 to 13 in 1995. Density of northern pike was significantly higher (α=0.05) in Section Six Pond than in Deep or South Horse ponds in 1994; however, density did not differ significantly among sites in 1995. Biomass (kg · ha-1) of northern pike ranged from 5 to 14 in 1994 and 7 to 13 in 1995, which did not differ significantly (α = 0.05) among the three ponds or between years. Density of largemouth bass ranged from 4 to 88 in 1994 and 2 to 36 in 1995. Density and biomass of largemouth bass were significantly higher in Section Six Pond than in Deep and South Horse ponds in both years. Largemouth bass density, biomass, and growth in Section Six Pond did not change extensively after the addition of northern pike; however, density and biomass of largemouth bass in South Horse Pond had decreased since the introduction of northern pike. Proportional stock density (PSD) of northern pike within the three ponds ranged from 0 to 66 in 1994 and 10 to 29 in 1995. The PSD value for northern pike was significantly higher in South Horse Pond than in Deep and Section Six ponds in 1994; however, PSD values of northern pike decreased from 66 to 29 in South Horse Pond from 1994 to 1995, respectively; PSD values of northern pike did not differ significantly among the three study sites in 1995. Largemouth bass PSD values in the three ponds ranged from 39 to 72 in 1994 and 28 to 100 in 195. The PSD value of largemouth bass was significantly lower in Section Six Pond than in Deep and South Horse ponds in 1994; however, the PSD value of largemouth bass in South Horse Pond decreased in 1995, and was lower than PSD values from bass in Section Six and Deep ponds. The PSD values of bluegill remained high (≥ 68) in South Horse and Deep ponds during both years. Yellow perch PSD values in Deep Pond were 25 in 1994 and 0 in 1995. Mean Wr values for northern pike (530-709 mm total length (TL)) ranged from 80 to 117 among the three study ponds, and generally increased from spring and summer to fall. Largemouth bass (300-379 mm TL) mean Wr ranged from 91 to 121 among the three study ponds. Mean Wr for largemouth bass was rarely below 95; however, there was a general trend for mean Wr to decrease with increasing fish size in Section Six and South Horse ponds in both years. Overall growth of northern pike was faster, and PSD values were higher in the two ponds that contained largemouth bass and bluegill. Growth of largemouth bass was similar in all three ponds; however, PSD values were higher in the ponds that contained northern pike and bluegill, with the exception of South Horse Pond in 1995. Growth of bluegill was faster than the state average, relative weights (Wr) were high, and PSD values of bluegill in Deep and South Horse Ponds were above the recommended ranges for balanced populations. Northern pike and largemouth bass successfully reproduced and recruited new fishes into the populations. Stocking northern pike in combination with largemouth bass and bluegill may increase growth and population size structures of bass and blue gill. Aquatic insects, terrestrial insects, and fishes ranked highest in relative importance in the diets of northern pike and largemouth bass. In general, fishes tended to increase in diet importance in the fall. There was little significant resource overlap among length categories within or between predator species. Thus, overall, it appears that northern pike may be a suitable species for stocking in small impoundments in South Dakota.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Pike -- South Dakota
Fish populations -- South Dakota
Number of Pages
South Dakota State University
Copyright © 1996 Scott D. Gurtin. All rights reserved.
Gurtin, Scott D., "An Assessment of Northern Pike Populations in Small South Dakota Impoundments" (1996). Theses and Dissertations. 447.