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NFC: A first hand Blue Pike account

Hi Robert,

I checked out your site-pretty cool.  There was an article titled "The
Days of the Blue Pike in the Erie Times-News from Erie, Pa on the last
page of last Sunday's Sports section". 

My father would take me to Erie, PA from Pittsburgh in the 50's and we
fished the party boats that went out from the State Street public dock
for Blue Pike.  Boats like the Kathleen, Flying Duck, and the Nellie II
are a few of the boats I remember going out on.  We usually went out on
the 7PM trip that came back around 11-11:30PM. We would go out a little
past the point and the boat would drop anchor and we used Emerald
shiners for bait.  We would fill bushel baskets with blue pike.  We
fished every weekend my father would take us and we also spent a week
or two in the summer on vacation in Erie also fishing.  During those
summers, there would be millions of large Mayflys (we called them
Canadien Sailors or Canadian Soldiers) every where-especially at night. 
They would hatch on the water while we were fishing for/catching Blue
Pike.  When they disapeared, so did the Blue Pike.  Although I live in
Maryland, I have a summer place in Erie and spend a lot of time there
each summer. At least every other weekend and a few weeks during the
summer.  I haven't seen a Canadien Sailor since I was a kid in the
50's.  They would be everywhere, on everything.

In the 70's when I lived in Pittsburgh, I worked as a Special/Deputy
Waterways Patrolman for the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. I remember an
artile in the Pennsylvania Angler sometime in the 70's with a theory
that I always thought made sense.  Euthrophication being the cause due
to phospate pollution by laundy detergents. I believe the title of the
article was Lake Erie, changing, but not dying or something like that. 
The article referred to the Blue Pike as a subspecies of the Walleye
(like the Sauger) and they said the Blue Pike was actually a Blue
 The article went on to mention the disapearance of May Fly that I
talked about above.  It seems the Blue Pike fry or first year class fed
on the larval stage of the Mayfly that was in the deeper waters of the
lake. When the Mayfly eggs didn't hatch due to lack of oxygen or due to
silt, the year class had to forage in shallower water where they in
turn were preyed upon by that years class of Smelt that were larger
because they hatched earlier.  Blue Pike Fry normally did not encounter
Smelt. Smelt are very voracious. This artile made sense to me at the
time and still does today.  It is a more plausable explanation than
overfishing/harvesting by the commercial or sports industry. This past
weeks artile in the Erie paper mentions that the commercial fisherman
used to net lots of small Blue Pike as part of their harvest and one
year they just started catching large ones-no more small ones.  I wish
I had a copy of that Pennsylvania Angler article-it also had a picture
of 4 or 5 Blue Pike on top of a cooler or table on the cover of the
Magazine or inside.

The Erie Times artile mentions a Joe Hansen of Hansens Bait store.  I
know Joe pretty well.  He has a friend named Wally(who I also know) who
used to work as a mate on the charter boats and he also worked on
commercial fishing boats that went after Blue Pike.  We have had a lot
of conversations about Blue Pike.  I don't know Wally's last name or
how to get in touch with him, but Joe told me last week that Wally's
health isn't too good.

I just thought I would share some of my thoughts and memory's about
Blue Pike.  If I come across any pictures, I will forward them to you. 
If you can't find the article from the Erie Times-New, let me know and
I wioll email you a copy of it that I downloaded fro their WEB page
(the newspaper had a B & W picture of a mounted Blue Pike-really old
mount). I am looking forward to more article on your WEB page and
especially pictures.  If you need someone to scan/convert photos or
slides to digital format, I can volunteer.  The Company I work for
specializes in document conversion that also includes all media. That
means I have access to some of the best equipment and technology
available. I would not charge for this.


Al Fitz

PS, I just rambled and may have made some typos, misspellings, etc., so
pleasee forgive.
Robert Rice
Help Preserve our Aquatic Heritage join the Native Fish Conservancy
 at our website  http://nativefish.interspeed.net/