Northern Pike and Walleye Management Frameworks

Alberta Environment and Parks Policy and Operations Divisions for Fisheries Management have identified the need to update the province’s Fisheries Management Program, to align with Alberta’s Fish Conservation and Management Strategy.

As part of this fisheries management initiative, we are currently developing Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks for northern pike and walleye. In Phase One of this project, we received public feedback on key management questions such as catch and release, Special Harvest Licences, season length and other discussion items. This initial feedback has been reviewed and incorporated into the draft Management Frameworks documents.

Recently, as part of Phase Two of this engagement, we conducted a survey to get feedback on the draft Northern Pike and Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks. The survey is now closed, and we are reviewing the results in preparation for the next phase, in which we will be consulting about proposed northern pike and walleye sportfishing regulation changes for a number of waterbodies throughout the province of Alberta.

Thanks to all who have shared their feedback with us so far. Stay tuned for our next consultation!


Alberta Environment and Parks Policy and Operations Divisions for Fisheries Management have identified the need to update the province’s Fisheries Management Program, to align with Alberta’s Fish Conservation and Management Strategy.

As part of this fisheries management initiative, we are currently developing Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks for northern pike and walleye. In Phase One of this project, we received public feedback on key management questions such as catch and release, Special Harvest Licences, season length and other discussion items. This initial feedback has been reviewed and incorporated into the draft Management Frameworks documents.

Recently, as part of Phase Two of this engagement, we conducted a survey to get feedback on the draft Northern Pike and Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks. The survey is now closed, and we are reviewing the results in preparation for the next phase, in which we will be consulting about proposed northern pike and walleye sportfishing regulation changes for a number of waterbodies throughout the province of Alberta.

Thanks to all who have shared their feedback with us so far. Stay tuned for our next consultation!


  • Drafting Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks for Northern Pike and Walleye

    about 2 months ago

    NOTE: Minor revisions were made to the FSI numbers in the “What is the status of Alberta Walleye?” section (on page 16) of the DRAFT Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks document.

    In Alberta we manage fisheries according to the Fish Conservation and Management Strategy to ensure conservation and sustainability, to meet constitutional obligations to First Nations, and to provide recreational opportunities. Alberta utilizes a comprehensive, science-based fisheries management system where fisheries assessments allow biologists to determine the status of the fish populations and the sustainability of fisheries. This information, along with feedback gathered in consultations with Albertans, is used to develop a Recreational Fish Management Objective for a given fishery.

    Management Frameworks for fish species outline the recreational fishery management approaches possible for achieving a desired population status and fishery type while considering other factors such as biological capability and limitations. The draft Northern Pike and Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks outline the range of recreational fishery types and associated fishery management tools being considered to achieve the desired population and fisheries types for these two species.

    Northern pike and walleye are currently managed according to the 1995 and 1999 Walleye and Northern Pike Management and Recovery plans. Provincially some populations of walleye and northern pike have improved and others not. But, since the previous strategies were implemented, the science, monitoring, and population models used have improved. The new draft Northern Pike and Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks reflect and incorporate this improved knowledge, as well as feedback from stakeholders.

    Fisheries Management Framework Survey: What We Heard

    In the last survey, we asked you about your preferences for how you’d like to see these fish populations managed, to get a sense of where your values and interests lie toward several key management questions, such as catch and release, harvest, Special Harvest Licences, season length, and length of time to recovery. We heard:

    • For the majority of respondents, harvest is not the prime motivation for going fishing. Most respondents would like the opportunity to harvest walleye and northern pike if that option is available, and recognize the importance of that limited opportunity.
      • While the goal for fish populations is to have them healthy and robust enough to allow harvests, the majority of respondents have indicated they prefer healthy stocks.
      • The majority of respondents indicate they would rather see catch and release or closures to speed recovery rather than risk slowing recovery by allowing limited harvest.
    • Special Harvest Licences (SHLs), an example of a quota licence, are well supported as a management tool. Approximately 75% of respondents support it, and two thirds of respondents support using it for northern pike.
      • Respondents noted that the SHL system should look at ways to reduce administrative costs, lessen complexity and enhance opportunities.
      • When open harvests are not sustainable, the majority of respondents support the use of SHLs, while fewer respondents would prefer short restricted harvest seasons.
    • The active and passive management approach was supported.
    • A precautionary approach was generally supported over a more liberal approach at remote lakes. This same preference was apparent when it came to pilot regulations.
      • Pilot regulations were supported only where there was low, or at most moderate risk to the fish population’s sustainability or recovery.

    We have reviewed feedback received in our initial survey and incorporated it into the draft Northern Pike and Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks. The aim of these frameworks is to provide a range of options for sustainably managing populations. Thank you to everyone that participated in our initial survey.

    Northern Pike and Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks – Draft Review Survey

    This survey is now closed. Thank you to all who participated.

    NOTE: Minor revisions were made to the FSI numbers in the “What is the status of Alberta Walleye?” section (on page 16) of the DRAFT Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks document.

    In Alberta we manage fisheries according to the Fish Conservation and Management Strategy to ensure conservation and sustainability, to meet constitutional obligations to First Nations, and to provide recreational opportunities. Alberta utilizes a comprehensive, science-based fisheries management system where fisheries assessments allow biologists to determine the status of the fish populations and the sustainability of fisheries. This information, along with feedback gathered in consultations with Albertans, is used to develop a Recreational Fish Management Objective for a given fishery.

    Management Frameworks for fish species outline the recreational fishery management approaches possible for achieving a desired population status and fishery type while considering other factors such as biological capability and limitations. The draft Northern Pike and Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks outline the range of recreational fishery types and associated fishery management tools being considered to achieve the desired population and fisheries types for these two species.

    Northern pike and walleye are currently managed according to the 1995 and 1999 Walleye and Northern Pike Management and Recovery plans. Provincially some populations of walleye and northern pike have improved and others not. But, since the previous strategies were implemented, the science, monitoring, and population models used have improved. The new draft Northern Pike and Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks reflect and incorporate this improved knowledge, as well as feedback from stakeholders.

    Fisheries Management Framework Survey: What We Heard

    In the last survey, we asked you about your preferences for how you’d like to see these fish populations managed, to get a sense of where your values and interests lie toward several key management questions, such as catch and release, harvest, Special Harvest Licences, season length, and length of time to recovery. We heard:

    • For the majority of respondents, harvest is not the prime motivation for going fishing. Most respondents would like the opportunity to harvest walleye and northern pike if that option is available, and recognize the importance of that limited opportunity.
      • While the goal for fish populations is to have them healthy and robust enough to allow harvests, the majority of respondents have indicated they prefer healthy stocks.
      • The majority of respondents indicate they would rather see catch and release or closures to speed recovery rather than risk slowing recovery by allowing limited harvest.
    • Special Harvest Licences (SHLs), an example of a quota licence, are well supported as a management tool. Approximately 75% of respondents support it, and two thirds of respondents support using it for northern pike.
      • Respondents noted that the SHL system should look at ways to reduce administrative costs, lessen complexity and enhance opportunities.
      • When open harvests are not sustainable, the majority of respondents support the use of SHLs, while fewer respondents would prefer short restricted harvest seasons.
    • The active and passive management approach was supported.
    • A precautionary approach was generally supported over a more liberal approach at remote lakes. This same preference was apparent when it came to pilot regulations.
      • Pilot regulations were supported only where there was low, or at most moderate risk to the fish population’s sustainability or recovery.

    We have reviewed feedback received in our initial survey and incorporated it into the draft Northern Pike and Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks. The aim of these frameworks is to provide a range of options for sustainably managing populations. Thank you to everyone that participated in our initial survey.

    Northern Pike and Walleye Recreational Fisheries Management Frameworks – Draft Review Survey

    This survey is now closed. Thank you to all who participated.