Baby pike make a comeback

SUAMICO, Wis. (WBAY) - A ten-year effort to restore northern pike habitat in Brown County is proving to be quite the success. Baby pike are turning up in new places.

As pike habitat restoration manager for Brown County, Chuck Larscheid is all about netting positive results.

He's finding baby pike in Barkhausen Creek.

"I would guess they're four weeks old, about 3/4 inch, maybe an inch long."

Just what Larscheid was hoping to find. Unlike walleye and musky, which are thriving, the Bay of Green Bay's other predator fish, northern pike, isn't faring as well.

"We don't know why the northern pike numbers were low over the last couple decades. We think some low water on the bay, some development pressures that developed some of the wetlands they used to spawn, and also there's some poor culverts, obstructions, blockages in streams or ditches," Larscheid said.

Using funds set aside from the ongoing billion dollar Fox River PCB cleanup project, the county has completed more than 50 pike habitat restoration projects since 2007 in tributaries flowing into the bay.

"Make new wetlands so they could spawn or restore old degraded wetlands, improve the access and we've seen that, we've got some of the places that were restored and we've measured the young coming out of there and it certainly has helped."

With 35 traps in streams throughout the county where old culverts of other impediments no longer exist, young pike are being recorded for the first time ever.

"What we'll do is count them, measure them, take the water temperature and then release them."

And with another $800,000 in Fox River damage assessment funds secured for another six years, more restoration projects are scheduled in Green Bay, Bellevue and Ashwaubenon.

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