Pike in Irish waters has changed its diet, says new report
Research also examines whether pike and brown trout can co-exist in the same habitat
Godfrey Donoghue with large pike.
International Dabbler. Tied by Jimmy Tyrrell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pike species in Irish waters may have changed their diet preferences according to a new report launched by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). The report, entitled Pike (Esox Lucius) in Ireland: Developing knowledge and tools to support policy and management looks at new research carried out on loughs Conn and Derravaragh in 2016 and provides an insight into the dietary habits of pike.
Previous dietary research in the 1960s and 1970s on Derravaragh and Sheelin indicated that pike preferred to eat brown trout and perch. However, this latest research reveals that pike have changed their prey preference and now predominately eat roach.
Researchers in Scotland and England have also found similar changes in pike diet occurring in Loch Lomond and Lake Windermere. It is thought the changes in diet are due to the invasion of roach in these waters.
The research examines whether pike and brown trout can co-exist in the same habitat. Using statistical models, it found that pike and brown trout could live together within relatively large deep lakes with strong stream connectivity. However in small, low-complex systems, pike could potentially have a devastating impact on resident brown trout populations.
The practice of pike removal and the impact it has on brown trout stocks is also examined. The findings suggest that pike removal may only be effective in protecting brown trout populations in systems where trout are the only available prey but may have little effect in systems where other prey, such as roach, are available.
Dr Ciarán Byrne, IFI’s chief executive, said: “This research was initiated to answer some on-going questions relating to the dietary preference of pike and the pike-brown trout interactions in lakes across Ireland. Previous studies were carried out more than 50 years ago which is a long time within our changing lake systems.
“This research is important as it gives an insight into behaviour of the pike species and provides updated information around their relationship with brown trout. The changing food web and altered preferences of predators in the water systems highlights the need for continued monitoring and updated data to inform effective management strategies.”
The investigation was carried out by scientists working across the national research programmes at IFI. Assistance was provided by staff from the organisation’s operations division.
To view the full report, see fisheriesireland.ie/pikeresearch.
Results and competitions
On Corrib, Ted Wherry of Mayfly Lodge, Ballynalty reported good sport with Richard Robinson for four afternoon sessions landing fish up to 3lbs on small caddis patterns.
Out from Oughterard, the Martin Molloy Cup attracted 44 competitors. Séamus Kelly took first place with three fish for 2.44kg, followed by Gerry Molloy with two for 1.310kg and Matt Tierney also on two for 1.135kg.
In the Cornamona area, Jason Riordan and Dave Burke over three days had great sport, boating 24 trout, best 2.5lb on traditional wets and dries (daddies and sedges). First-time visitor, Christophe DuPont from France guided by Tom “Doc” Sullivan, spent a morning ferox fishing without success and for the remainder of the day changed to fly fishing and landed two good trout.
Rathmullan Charters is now taking bookings for shark, wreck and general fishing trips in September and October. Some weekend and midweek dates are available for groups up to 10 persons. Full day and half-day trips also catered for. Rods and reels supplied free of charge. For bookings, call 087-248 0132 or email email@example.com.
The McIntyre/Guider Cup open fly fishing competition on Lough Sheelin will take place on Saturday, September 29th at Kilnahard Pier with fishing 11am-6pm for the biggest trout. Entry fee is €10. Contact Dessie McEntee on 047-77216.