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Northern Pike spawning run underway at Suamico wetlands site

UW-Green Bay student Maddi Quamme with a 36-inch Northern Pike, April 1, 2019 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)
UW-Green Bay student Maddi Quamme with a 36-inch Northern Pike, April 1, 2019 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)
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SUAMICO (WLUK) -- The spawning run for Northern Pike is underway in some areas of Northeast Wisconsin, but experts say it is about a week behind schedule.

In about three feet of chilly water, environmental science students work together to guide a thrashing northern pike out of a sturdy net, and into the holding tank nearby.

"The adult population seems to be pretty strong, but the last couple of years, with the poor weather conditions, lots of snow, conditions drying up too fast, really led to really reduced amounts of reproduction, so we're a little concerned about that," said Patrick Forsythe, UW-Green Bay Associate Biology Professor.

For the past couple weeks, students have captured fish heading in and out of the wetlands near Lineville Road, in Suamico.

"We're helping to figure out the gender of the pike in the area. Their size, we're tagging them, seeing if we're getting any from previous years," said Maddi Quamme, UW-Green Bay Senior Student.

The Department of Natural Resources is sharing techniques on how to determine the age of the fish.

"We're collecting part of a fin ray. So we're going to be, what you can do is actually cross-section this like you can a tree. So you look at the the rings, you see how old that fish is. So every single year, it lays down a ring, so you can determine how old that fish is," said Tammie Paoli, DNR Fisheries Biologist.

Paoli says Northern Pike grow quickly in the waters of Green Bay, and many of the dozen fish processed Monday are about three years old. After a matter of minutes, the fish are scooped up, and taken back to the channel nearby. Students say this exercise give them valuable experience.

"It's much better than just sitting in a lab, trying to figure out, and look at pictures, not really get a feel for what this kind of work really is," said Dominic Marr, UW-Green Bay Senior Student.

Experts says the spawning run could run another three or four weeks.

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They say this weekend should be a good time to check out the activity.

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