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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It's hard to believe that the Blue Walleye aka Blue Pike is extinct. Numbers once in the millions, are now believed to be extinct for the past 25 years.

Lake Erie/Ontario was said to be the only lake that had this species of fish. In your opinion, do you believe their are still Blue Walleye/Pike in Erie???

Other fish have thought to be extinct have been caught. Such as the sturgeon of the baltic sea (thought to be extinct since the 1900's, caught in early april), and the coelacanth, which was caught in ZANZIBAR, Tanzania was suppose to be extinct over 80 million years ago.

With these stories, and the large body of waters Blue Walleye?Pike called home makes me wonder if a few have survived. Several people have claimed to catch Blue Walleye/Pike, but after testing, they have been nothing more than standard walleye with a colour variant making them look blue.

THOUGHTS????

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_walleye
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here is a picture of a Yellow Walleye with the colour variant I was talking about. I know this much, it would fool me.
 

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goes to show what massive unchecked commercial fish can to to even the biggest bodys of water. Are there any left? i would guesse yes. not allot but probabaly some. take the number of anglers fishing for walleye in the great lakes in a given year and the similarity in species i'm sure some are caught by unsuspecting fishermen that don't know the difference. you would think that as expansive a body of water as the great lakes are there has to be some somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
goes to show what massive unchecked commercial fish can to to even the biggest bodys of water. Are there any left? i would guesse yes. not allot but probabaly some. take the number of anglers fishing for walleye in the great lakes in a given year and the similarity in species i'm sure some are caught by unsuspecting fishermen that don't know the difference. you would think that as expansive a body of water as the great lakes are there has to be some somewhere.
recently they have discovered Sculpin in Lake Ontario, which hasn't been found in Lake Ontario since 1972, about the same time Blue Pike dissappeared. This one find is giving experts hopes that Blue Pike will follow suit, and return to the great lakes basin, as sculpin thrives in deep clear oxygenated water, much like the Blue Pike to survive.
 

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i got one but, back in 1981,looked funny between a pike but more walleye. threw it back in.
 

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i heard about the sculpin in ontario but forgot until you mentioned it. deep clear oxygenated water huh;)
 

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There are areas in the Northern U.S. and Canada where a blue strain of walleye still exists. They don't know for sure if it is the same 'race' of walleye as the ones found in the G-Lakes....but they sure look similar. Erie has changed immensly since the days of the blue pike...so I'm going to go with a big NO POKE in regards to them still being there. I'm not even convinced they are a seperate species to be honest...although it is obvious they are a subspecies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
i got one but, back in 1981,looked funny between a pike but more walleye. threw it back in.
common error when people think they caught a Blue Pike. A blue Pike is nothing more than a Walleye. No relationship to the pike. It's generally smaller (12-18 inches), and has bigger eyes, and a wider eye set. They also don't have a dark spot near the top fin like walleyes do, or the white tip on th tail. You more than likely caught a yellow walleye with the variation we talked about below.
 

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do any of you guys remember about 10 years ago when a guy that had caught a blue walleye back in the 50's had kept it in his freezer and gave it to the dnr for further study, only to find out that it was a mix between the blue pike and a walleye? I'm gonna try to find that newspaper article
 

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goes to show what massive unchecked commercial fish can to to even the biggest bodys of water[/QUOTE

It wasn't the commercial fisherman, it was massive unchecked pollution that took away their spawning grounds.
The poor blue pike had no where left to get to it on!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
goes to show what massive unchecked commercial fish can to to even the biggest bodys of water[/QUOTE

It wasn't the commercial fisherman, it was massive unchecked pollution that took away their spawning grounds.
The poor blue pike had no where left to get to it on!
If you read all the numerous articles about the topic they believe Four things lead to the lost of this awesome species of fish:

1) Pollution
2) Commercial fishing (the use to use nets that would only catch the largest blue pike, leaving enough net space to release the smaller for future spawning. Once the numbers dropped, the nets got smaller, thus eliminating smaller fish for future spawning)
3) Water Clarity and Oxygen level changes below 30 feet.
4) Hook and Line anglers harvesting every blue pike caught.
 

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Found this (Union Fish closed in '64)-
By JEFF KIRIK
Staff Writer
Half a century later, the image is still vivid in Leo Scepura's
82-year-old
mind.

On countless nights in the 1940s and early '50s, he recalls gazing across
Lake Erie and thinking the same thought.

"It was a like a city out on the lake," he said, "with all those lights."

The lights were attached to fishing boats ... hundreds of fishing boats.
Crafts of all sizes were packed together on the water's surface like rush
hour on a Los Angeles expressway.

Day after day, night after night, week after week, for years, all of
those
fishermen gathered in pursuit of the same prize the blue pike.

The blue pike was not just a fish to Erie residents during the first half
of
the 20th Century. The pike was both a dietary staple and a delicacy. For
some the fish was a hobby. For some it was an obsession. For others the
blue
pike was a way of life.

The Lake Erie blue pike is long gone, and its tremendous impact on the
city
of Erie is a faint memory. Nearly 25 years haved passed since the species
was declared extinct.

Some Erieites, however, cannot forget. Or give up.

In an unlikely development, the fish has been back in the news for the
past
two years. In an effort nicknamed the "blue pike initiative", biologists,
government officials and citizen activists have teamed to try to help the
blue pike do the impossible make a comeback.

Like a plot out of "Jurassic Park", the members of the initiative hope to
resurrect a seemingly dead species with the help of DNA. No, biologists
will
not try to clone a well preserved pike. Instead, they will take the DNA
from
a blue pike that was frozen for 37 years and use the DNA as a kind of
fingerprint. They will use that print as a guideline and compare it to
DNA
from other pike.

Some biologists believe that several decades ago blue pike from Lake Erie
may have been transferred to lakes in Canada. Descendants of those blue
pike
still may be flourishing in the Canadian habitats. If and when Canadian
blue
pike can be located, they may be tested with the existing DNA
fingerprint.
If any of the pike candidates is a match, the species could be bred and
re-introduced to Lake Erie.

The process is made more confusing by the blue pike's cousin, the yellow
pike or walleye which still thrives in Lake Erie. The average blue pike
measured a little less than a foot and was considerably smaller than the
walleye. But occasionally mutant walleyes will have a blueish color that
makes them appear to be a blue pike. That's why the DNA is so critical in
distinguishing the two species.

While the whole comeback scenario seems like a pipe dream or pike dream
many
believe that a blue pike comeback is possible.

The members of the S.O.N.S. (Save Our Native Species) of Lake Erie
recently
made a $5,000 pledge to the initiative.

"The should convince anybody, who had any doubt," fishery biologist
Dieter
Busch told the Times-News recently, "that there's real interest in
understanding the problem and hopefully restoring this lost species."

What's so special about the Lake Erie blue pike? What would cause people
to
spend hard-earned money in an attempt to revive the extinct fish?

The taste.

"That was the best eating fish in the lake. You couldn't beat it," said
Scepura, who often went to Steel's Bar on State Street and paid 10 cents
for
a blue pike sandwich on Friday nights. "It was the most delicious fish
there
was."

When he wasn't eating pike at a restaurant, Scepura was preparing the
fish
himself. "We would dip it in some flower and throw it in some grease.
That's
all you had to do," he said.

Scepura moved to Erie in 1937 and soon learned about the virtues of the
blue
pike. He used a 14-foot boat to fish "about every two or three days." He
estimated that he alone caught about 1,000 blue pike in his lifetime.

Scepura's brother and sister-in-law once paid a visit from their home in
California. Although she was not particularly a fish lover, "she loved
those
blue pike. That's why she came up here." Each time the couple would
visit,
Scepura made sure he hand some pike on hand.

"It was a very tasty fish," agreed Dan Wilson, who once operated Wilson
and
Son Fisheries with his father, the late W. Howard Wilson. "The blue pike
was
prolific, tasty and there was a good market for them."

Many Erie residents who are over 50 can recall a time when the blue pike
was
a large part of the city's economy. Hundreds of fishermen set out daily
in
their boats in an attempt to catch the plentiful fish. Erie restaurants
made
a killing on blue pike entrees.

The Wilson family, meanwhile, was one of numerous commercial fishing
businesses that made a comfortable living. Wilson and Son Fisheries was
founded by Dan's grandfather, Arthur, at the turn of the century. Dan's
father later took over the reins. Dan Wilson, 56, began learning the
industry at the age of 8. He was receiving deck wages by the time he was
15,
working weekends with his father.

The Wilsons fished on an 81-foot steam tug named "Cormorant" until 1938.
They then used a 60-foot tug named "Dellie W." the nickname of Dan's
mother,
Edith from 1939 until 1966 when their business was "legislated out of
existence."

However, the business was booming when the blue pike was at its peak from
the 1920s through the early "50s. Massive schools of the species roamed
the
deep waters of the lake. By one estimate, about 50 million blue pike
lived
in Lake Erie in 1936. During that year commercial fishermen caught a
record
26 million pounds of blue pike. Pennsylvania fishermen accounted for
almost
three million of that total.

On an average day, Dan Wilson recalled, the Wilsons would catch anywhere
from 1,000 pounds to a ton of blue pike. On good days they would net two
tons. Wilson and Son also caught herring, whitefish and, later, smelt and
perch.

The Wilsons worked closely with Robert Kolbe, who owned the Union Fish
Company at the foot of Peach Street. When the Wilsons would return to the
dock with their daily catch, Kolbe's workers would pack the fish in ice
in
100-pound boxes. Kolbe would then market the fish throughout the region,
including cities such as Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York.

"My family did very well fishing for those years," Dan Wilson said.

But the prosperous days didn't last forever. In the mid-1950s, fishermen
began to notice a disturbing trend. In the past, the Wilsons had always
caught young blue pike known as snipes.

"We no longer saw those small snipes coming on," said Wilson. "All we got
were those big older blues in their last years of life."

That meant that the pike were no longer reproducing in Lake Erie. A
number
of biological factors contributed to their demise, including the increase
of
the smelt population and lake pollution. Some biologists also feel that
overfishing played a part.

Nearly 19 million pounds of blue pike were caught in 1956. Three years
later
that number had dropped to just 79,000 pounds. Clearly the blue pike's
day
was done.

"We were in dire straits at the time with the whitefish declining and the
blue pike virtually gone," Wilson said. "There were perch but they were
never a high-priced fish. They were never that much in demand."

The Wilsons fished for perch and smelt for several years before their
business folded because of "political pressure" in 1966. Kolbe closed the
doors of the Union Fish Company in 1964.

Commercial fishermen weren't the only ones who prospered during the blue
pike boom. Owners of party boats also known as charters were making a
tidy
profit as well.

"At one time there were probably 40 to 50 fishing party boats at the
public
docks," said Joe Hansen, 57, the owner of Hansen's bait stand. Hansen
noted
that the boats would take trips daily at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m. "They'd
go
three times a day, seven days a week."

"They'd fish all night long," said Scepura.

Like Scepura, Hansen remembers the many fishing boats that would
congregate
in one spot over a school of blue pike.

"There would be a couple hundred boats off the point (now called Seagull
Point) of Presque Isle. It was called "the blue pike grounds" at the
time,"
Hansen said. "You could go off shore in about 20 or 30 feet of water and
catch all of the blue pike you wanted."

Minnows were the bait of choice, but some people even successfully used
tin
foil on a hook.

While walleye fishing is popular on Lake Erie, the fish is no match for
its
extinct cousin.

That's why so many people are working to find the blue pike and return it
to
its glory days in Lake Erie.

Others are warning the blue pike activists to be careful. As in "Jurassic
Park", reintroducing an extinct creature can backfire.

Roger Kenyon, fishery biologist at Fairview Fish Culture Station, said
biologists should be cautious and make sure they have the Lake Erie blue
pike before they breed and stock the species.

"Anything that's brought in that doesn't belong is a threat anything that
disturbs the system.

They're going to have to convince a lot of people before they raise (blue
pike) in a hatchery."

Still, many feel that the return of the blue pike would be worth the
risk.

Who knows? Lake Erie might return to the days when fishing boats light up
the night sky. May 01, 1999
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
i read that article the other day, it's a really good read.. I was telling my lady that I am going to devote my retired life hunting for a Blue Pike... They're still out there, I have a strong feeling about it. In the next 10-15 years, I think they will return to lake Erie. Call me crazy, things just happen like that.
 

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i have to agree they have to be somewhere. thats amazing that thte catch rate went from 19 million pounds then htree years later only 79,000 pounds wow! shouldn't something have been done about it if they were that popular and the fisherman could note a noticalble decline? and why in the hell would you still have a fish that you froze almost 40 years ago?

BA screw rice lake lets go on a blue pike expedition and prove these folks wrong
 

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my $.02, they are extinct, and the ones in canada are a color phase or deformity, I have seen yellow perch that where blue as well. I do think that the ones in erie where somthing separate from walleye, and different from canada's color phase fish.
the bigger point that was brought up for a moment was why they went extinct. first, I would say there is no one cause. the huge second, is that after loosing or severely depressing lake trout, sturgeon, several whitefishes, blue pike, and probably some minnows and sculpins, heck erie apparently once had a good sauger population. what can we do to not look back and add smallmouth, walleye and other now important species to that list.
commercial fishing, pollution, invasives, sport fisherman, disease, these are all things that killed together, how do we keep it from happening again, be it in erie, ohio, or elsewhere, we are loosing species from rivers lakes and all together all over the place.
 
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