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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

David W. Willis


A total of 702 northern pike Esox lucius was collected monthly on 17 occasions from July 1991 to June 1993 from Lake Thompson, South Dakota to assess seasonal variations in growth and sampling data. Mean length of male northern pike from the 1990 year class increased during the spring and autumn of the first year while increased were more uniform from autumn to spring of the second year. Mean length of female northern pike from the 1990 year class increased during autumn and winter of both years. Mean total-body and soma weight increased for male and female northern pike during the autumn and winter of both years. Mean weight (total and soma) declined for both sexes during late winter and early spring of both years. Daily instantaneous growth rate in total length for males was related to water temperature, with peak growth at approximately 10-14 ° C. Mean gonadosomatic index (GSI) values of male northern pike were highest during autumn; most testicular growth occurred during August and September. Mean GSI values for female northern pike were highest during March and April. Ovarian growth occurred from August until March. Relative weights (Wr) of both male and female northern pike were highest during late winter and early spring. Catch per effort (CPE) peaked in spring of both sampling years. Mean CPE was related to water temperature; maximum catch rates occurred at water temperatures in the range of 10-14'C. Size structure of northern pike caught in gill nets was inversely related to CPE and water temperature. From May 1992 to August 1993, 246 observations were taken on nine large (mean total length=84 cm) northern pike, and 562 observations were taken on 17 small (mean total length=53 cm) northern pike tagged with ultrasonic transmitters. Overall movement (both sizes combined) was lower in August than during May or November. There was no significant difference in movement of large northern pike from May to August; movement of small northern pike was lowest during August. Large northern pike were farther off-shore and in deeper water than small northern pike during August, primarily because large pike were farther off-shore and in deeper water than small pike during midday and evening. Water temperature in Lake Thompson was above the optimum temperature for northern pike growth during summer of both years. High water temperature may have restricted northern pike growth and movements during summer. In Lake Thompson, most northern pike growth occurred during cool-water periods; movement was lowest during August.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pike -- Seasonal distribution -- South Dakota -- Thompson, Lake
Pike -- Growth
Pike -- Geographical distribution


Includes bibliographical references (page 102-111)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1994 Robert M. Neumann. All rights reserved.