How much do pike eat?

catman

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Per day, week or year how much by way of bait fish do pike eat? I realise this will vary depending on size of pike but going by a 15lb pike can anyone give me some vague idea on their food consumption. I ask as i am setting up a fishery and stocking pike but also need to stock bait fish. Any help?
 
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Terry D

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We had a survey on one of our waters by Bruno Broughton. He said that predators like pike and eels eat about 5 times their own weight of fish per year.
In one season we removed 200lb of jack pike (typically 3-7lbs) and netted 1200lb of eels. You do the maths, and we were wondering where all our fish were disappearing to, not counting the cormorants either.
 

Alan Tyler

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Don't forget that the pike's consumption is spread throughout the year - during which time the prey fish GROW. Also, some of the fish pike eat are other pike.
Pike and all the other fish have adapted to live in balance since long before they followed the retreating ice to these parts.
Man's attempts to "improve" on nature by stocking extra fish into established communities usually prove to be an expensive waste of fish, effort,and time; the Aquarists' motto of "look after the water and the fish will look after themselves" is pretty sound.
If you're starting from scratch, and want a sustainable community of fish, get in an expert - the EA should be able to point you at some - and work out what you want, and how to acheive it - the freshwater food chain is very complex, and you'll have fewer disappointments if you get the plant and invertebrate communities established first.
Once it's up and running, don't forget that freshwater communities are dynamic, flexible and productive. Don't be scared to remove SOME fish and plants. But keep a careful eye on how the community responds when you do.
Some of the best roach and pike fishing ever was in the Hampshire Avon when it had clear water, copious weed growth, regularly cut and removed, and when many stretches were preserved for game fishing, so many pike and roach were removed.
 

keora

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There used to be an excellent paper available on the PAC.GB site about the pros and cons of culling pike. It quotes various sources about the food consumption of pike. From what I can remember, a mature pike eats about three times its own weight each year.

There are variations of course - I think a young pike in its prime eats more fish per body weight to fuel its need to grow. A pike which is near its upper weight limit only needs to maintain its body weight and so eats a bit less (as a percentage of its body weight) than a fast growing pike.

I suggest you look it up on the PAC site.
 

Eric Edwards

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"We had a survey on one of our waters by Bruno Broughton. He said that predators like pike and eels eat about 5 times their own weight of fish per year.
In one season we removed 200lb of jack pike (typically 3-7lbs) and netted 1200lb of eels. You do the maths, and we were wondering where all our fish were disappearing to, not counting the cormorants either."

I hope those eels went to a good home. The eel population in this country has collapsed - they don't need killing!

When will people understand that a healthy predator population is a sign of a healthy fishery. If your water is full of jacks it's probably due to previous amateur fishery management policies gone wrong.
Predators like pike will generally occupy about 10% of the biomass in a balanced fishery. If the fishery isn't balanced, it's usually due to tinkering.

LEAVE THE THINGS ALONE AND THEY WILL SORT THEMSELVES OUT
 
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Ged

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Read a report on a pike web site that stated. A mature female pike will spawn around 250,000 eggs. The report said they surveyed 5 female pike which laid 1,259,000 eggs. After 5 years only 5 pike survied to mature at around 5 lb mark. This wsas done at a healthy fishery
The report also said that the mature pike only consumed 1.5 times their body weight per year.
Plus they are very fradgile.
 

keora

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Ged, which report was it and is it available on the internet ?

The annual food consumption of 1.5 times a pike's body mass seems low to me - 2.5 to 3.0 is more often quoted.
 
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Chris Bishop

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There's a load of info on the PAC website about pike, how much they eat, how long they live and all that sort of stuff.


I posted some links (above)
 

pcpaulh

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leave the things alone and things will sort themselves out
To true, if we didnt tamper with them there would always be years of high preds, low preds, less prey fish, lots of prey fish. Nature will always balance it back out.
But Interesting to hear how much pike eat. How relevent is this to how much we need to eat? At first this number seemed low but the more I think about it, the more believable it sounds.
 

Joskin

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"leave the things alone and things will sort themselves out"

Dr Bruno Broughton is a fisheries scientist by profession and for a decade worked as a fish biologist and fisheries officer with the Severn-Trent Water Authority. Since 1988 Bruno has run his own fisheries management consultancy business, providing advice to approximately 1,200 clients throughout the UK ? and several in France ? on a wide range of topics.

Eric, Christian.
You both say leave the pike alone yet the profesionals like Bruno advice some fisheries such as ours and Terrys to remove a certain amount of pike from our waters.

What are your qualifications in the subject to advise so strongly against the removal of pike from some waters?
Why should we not follow the advice of these profesionals of many many years experience?
 

Eric Edwards

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You completely and deliberately ignored the content of my mail.

I made it quite clear that I was talking about previous AMATEUR fishery management having possibly created a problem.

Moreover, there is no suggestion in Terry D's mail that Bruno recommended the removal of so many pike and eels - or indeed any at all!

What's more, a consultant like Bruno will advise based on the requirements of the controlling club. If I was to ask Bruno to devise a policy to create a water filled with jacks, I expect his report would advise me to remove all the big pike.

My qualifications are probably no better than yours - but I know how to read an email!

The advice to leave things alone is sound advice. Pike and prey fish have co-existed for millions of years and guess what, there were no fisheries biologists around then!
 

Eric Edwards

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Consider this statement

"The consequences of pike culling exercises have been reported by several authors, including Otto (1979), Bouquet (1979) and Kipling (1983), and they are widely recognised by fishery managers. After an initial decline in the number and overall biomass of pike, there is often a rapid recovery in the size of the population as a result of successful spawning and improved rates of survival of small pike. Where culls occur every few years, the net result may well be that the pike biomass recovers to its pre-culling status, although this often consists of more but smaller pike (e.g. Kipling & Frost 1970)."

Activity such as described (what I would call AMATEUR pike culling) clearly leads to an increase in the number of pike present but a reduction in their size. My suggestion was that former policies, maybe like this one, may well have produced an imbalance in Terry's water.

The quote?
It was by Dr. Bruno Broughton - go and challenge HIS qualifications!
 

pcpaulh

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No qualifications at all, but I'm not arguing with what Dr. Bruno has said. I'm just stating if you leave nature to it will sort it's self out in the end.
Dr. Bruno might say take some pike out but if he didnt its not going to mean the silverfish all disapear is it.
The pike numbers will not be able to suport themselves if there isnt enough silverfish. So the silverfish population will eventually recover.
Where as if what Eric has stated is right by culling the population you will end up with lots of smaller jacks. Which will be eating more then mature fish to maintain a growth rate.
 

Joskin

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My Club was recommended by a professional to remove as many of the pike from two of our still waters as possible. The way I read Terry's post was that his club had also been advised to do the same. Perhaps I interpreted Terry's posting wrongly.

However I said what I did as you quite categorically stated "LEAVE THE THINGS ALONE AND THEY WILL SORT THEMSELVES OUT"
That goes against the advice that we were given by a well respected professional.

I believe every water is different and no one can categorically say to cull or to leave alone fish in any water without evaluating the individual water.
We had our waters evaluated and we acted on the advice we had paid for.

Christian.
I am quite sure that you are right when you say "if you leave nature to it will sort it's self out in the end."
But we dont leave nature to it do we? We stock waters with fish and meddle with them all the time.

At the end of the day this thread was not started to disguss the removel of pike from a water and that argument has been raving on for years and its not one we should be debaiting on this thread.
 

Eric Edwards

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Hang on. We've gone from "Dr Bruno Broughton, a fisheries scientist by profession" to "A professional"

Well who is this guy?

What was his brief? If his brief was "How can we reduce the number of pike in our fishery in the short term?" then obviously that's the answer he would give. If your waters were out of balance and needed pike removing, then HOW DID THEY GET LIKE THAT?

I'm having trouble getting through to you. You seem only to want to slavishly report what some supposed nameless fisheries expert said on one occasion without telling us the context in which it was said.

LEAVE THE THINGS ALONE AND THEY WILL SORT THEMSELVES OUT does not go against the advice of the professional - you haven't stated the objective.

One thing's for sure, culling (killing) pike is a high maintenance strategy that can cost millions. I know, because I've read Bruno Broughton's writings on it.
 

pcpaulh

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Its interesting trying to think of the consquences and results of our actions. And like you say we do stock and meddle with waters all the time but I don't think we will ever completly understand nature. No matter how much we meddle.
 
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levelspiker

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if pike "eat all the fish" then they will cull themselves,if the food fish population collapses,the the bigger pike will predate the smaller ones,resulting in a smaller population of larger pike which control the numbers of small pike,this in turn will give the prey fish species a chance to multiply again,thus restoring a natural balance,until the next band of pike haters decide to kill all the pike that they catch and start the over population of small pike again.trying to educate coarse anglers who hate,or don`t understand the role of predators,is like trying to educate a leg of pork.
 

Michal Felcyn

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Latest Pike&Predator issue. There you have the feedeing rates in terms of fish weight.
 
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