Blue Pike: Part Two, The Present
Local, former, Niagara River Commercial Fisherman Art King showing a part of his Blue Pike catch in 1948. "Blues" never got much bigger than shown in the picture here. The picture was taken at the Youngstown NY docks. Notice the net on the drying rack in the background. There were many commercial fishermen in those days until the Blue Pike became scarce in the 1950's. The fish were sold to wholesalers and restaurants in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Nearly every area restaurant and small neighborhood bar featured "Blue Pike Specials" on Friday nights and was a popular event with hundreds of families.
Look close in this picture and you
will see Mr. King's Brother Bill on the far right and his Father George
in the middle, both sorting fish from the nets. A fishing family.
BLUE PIKE, A REMNANT FROM THE PAST, HOPE FOR THE FUTURE? by Mike Gillis
PART TWO: THE PRESENT
the past few years, I've been hearing occasional stories from fishermen of
catching a blue pike while walleye fishing on Lakes
to former commercial fisherman Elton Jeffords and former game warden Kimpton
Vosburg, both men of vast experience in handling blue pike, walleye can easily
be mistaken for blue pike. Habitat and water conditions, as well as scale
shedding can make a walleye look almost just a blue pike. The main way that they
used to use to differentiate between the two types of fish was they would lift
up the second dorsal fin, and if there were any yellow spots there, it was a
yellow pike (walleye), not a blue.
I read an article in THE BUFFALO NEWS about Dieter N. Busch, Chief Biologist at
the Lower Great Lakes Fishery Resources Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service in Amherst. Dieter has been investigating reports of alleged blue pike
being caught in several places in Ontario, Canada and some reports of blue pike
in Minnesota still. In the article,
it was mentioned that they are having a difficult time getting DNA samples for
the testing and using., for identification purposes from actual blue pike. It
seems that the formaldehyde used in preserving the original actual blue‑
pike, which he has access to, destroy the DNA in those specimens. The only
source of actual blue pike DNA which they have, according to the article, is
attained by scraping the dried mucous from the backs of the scales of old dried
reading this, I immediately recalled hearing about an actual frozen blue pike
caught and kept for the past twenty years by Niagara River Anglers
member, Gerry Condren of Youngstown, NY. Outdoor columnist, Ken
Sprenger also wrote about this in his column in the Tonawanda News in
March, 1993. 1 called Dieter Busch up, and told him about this fish. He said
that he would just love to have that fish in his possession. I called Gerry
Condren up and he said that he would be happy to donate his fish for such an
important purpose. Thanks for your generous donation, Gerry! Gerry told me that
he caught the fish in Georgian Bay, about a mile west of the French River.
Gerry, who had extensive experience catching blue pike years ago, immediately
recognized the 15-inch fish as a blue pike and decided to keep it. On the way
back to the states from his fishing trip, Jerry ran into an Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources Officer who wanted to check his catch. Upon seeing the fish,
he commented that it was the first blue pike that he had seen in a long time.
That was back in 1976.
took the fish back to my house where I took pictures of it, being careful to
keep it out of the reach of my Labrador Retriever. After all, I didn't want to
follow him around with a baggie for two days collecting DNA samples.
Continue to Part Three
Back to Part One
Back to Part Two
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