Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arizona
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arizona Project

Controlling Introduced Populations of Northern Pike in Parker Canyon and Rainbow Lakes: A Joint Ukrainian – Arizona Collaborative Project

April 2005 - July 2008


Participating Agencies

  • Science Support Partnership

Mechanical control of nonnative aquatic species has often been difficult; yet in some situations, fish populations have collapsed following mechanical control measures. In the Ukraine, northern pike (Esox lucius) are the top predator in many reservoirs of the Dnieper River. Here, mechanical removal methods reduced annual pike catch by an order of magnitude over a ten-year period. Northern pike can develop nuisance populations in Southwestern waters. Here we describe a joint Ukrainian/Arizona effort to research mechanical methods to suppress nuisance northern pike populations in Rainbow and Fool’s Hollow Lake, Arizona. Researchers at the Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Zaporizhzha State University, Ukraine; The Ukrainian Institute of Fisheries; and the Arizona Game and Fish Department selected four mechanical removal techniques jointly. Ukrainian fyke netting with barrier nets to capture spawning fish in the spring; gill netting; electrofishing; and angler reward methods were tested simultaneously in the two lakes over a two-year period. We estimated gear efficiency by season, time of day, and weather conditions using a Jolly-Seber (POPAN ) open-population model on program MARK based on capture-recapture methods. Initial comparison of electrofishing and netting methods suggest gill netting and fyke netting with barriers fished in early spring were most effective. Field data collection has concluded and a final report was completed. Publications related to this work were published in 2008 and 2009 in Ukrainian fisheries journals, and other publications are now underway.