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Blue Pickerel


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As a kid about 8-9 yrs. old ,I remember catching blues in the 12 Mile Creek with my dad ,  just after sunset . There were plenty of them in the 1 lb. range . I  was curious to see what happened to them & found the last 'official' blue was caught in Erie in 1965 . Americans called them blue walleye .  

I'm now 79 yrs old  and remember them well from the 50's , but since they have been here since 65 I am thinking some of our members may have caught some of those "blues" ?

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Back in the early 1970s we caught  one or two in the east end of lake Erie at Ft. Erie while bass fishing, never realizing that they were a rare species.  Just thought it an odd colour variant of a normal pickerel. 

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I caught a couple up moose hunting near Longlac and when I googled it they said it was a pigmentation in the mucous in the skin, not a seperate species. There was a blue pickeral but is extinct. Here is what I found...

 

Species: Blue Walleye - (Sander vitreus glaucus)
• Location: Ontario
• Name Variations: Blue Pike, Blue Pickerel
• Status: Extinct

 Carsten R. Jorgensen has written a book called "Recent Extinctions" where extensive reasearch on the Blue Walleye can be read. It's available on Amazon

The Campbell Status Report of 1985 officially declared the Blue Walleye extinct. The last Blue Walleye to be officially recognized as a Blue Walleye by the MNR was caught in Lake Erie in 1965. MNR is an acronym for Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Back in 1993, I was fishing on Spotted Lake, which is a portage lake off of Esnagami Lake near Nakina, which is a fly-in lake. Eric Lund, the owner of Esnagami Lodge, told my friend Greg and myself to go over to Spotted Lake for some Blue Walleyes. We did the portage and guess what, we caught about 75 Walleyes and 6 or 7 of them were blue. I mean DARK BLUE!!! Even their meat was blue. My friend Greg has caught Blue Walleyes in other lakes north of Nakina back when his parents owned Twin Lakes Outfitters.

After that, I reported catching Blue Walleyes to the MNR and about three weeks later I had a phone call from a biologist in North Bay. He assured me that Blue Walleye are extinct and that the walleyes we were catching were just regular Walleyes but the acidity of the water made them blue. In actuality, it's a bacterium that thrives in acid water and colonizes on a fish's skin and changes its skin color.

My Response: I could see in a large lake that there would be different areas with different acid levels. It is common knowledge that acidity does affect the color of shallow water fish like bluegills. Spotted Lake was a tiny little lake (4 acres) with no streams running in. We caught all our Walleyes in the same spot, which was a deep hole at the north end of the lake.

 

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Unfortunately they were before my time, but I remember talking to an old timer (he was probably in his 60's at the time lol!) back in the 80's while fishing at the Queenston Sand Docks, that said that he used to catch them off the docks all the time.

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1 hour ago, Surf and Turf said:

Unfortunately they were before my time, but I remember talking to an old timer (he was probably in his 60's at the time lol!) back in the 80's while fishing at the Queenston Sand Docks, that said that he used to catch them off the docks all the time.

That might have been me ......   :rolleyes: .... I don't remember the blues being caught there but lots of silvers !  

 

5 hours ago, mooseslayer said:

the walleyes we were catching were just regular Walleyes but the acidity of the water made them blue.

I have heard that too . We have better dna technology today which makes me question the validity of blue pickerel being a distinctive species . Why did they die off ? What caused them to become 'extinct' ? The blues in the 12 Mile were living mostly in L.Erie water plus some stream water from short Hills & Effingham Creek . But we also had tons of paper mill discharge going into Gibson and from the old canal system from Thorold into the 12 at the city core. So,  were these blues just reg.eyes with a different chemical makeup which brought on their demise ?  Today's science should be able to pin point the reason they died off ......But it was fun catching them as a kid !

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I can remember catching a few off Lowbanks in the 70's. But none after 1980. My father had stories about catching some in Lake Erie in the 50's along with the yellows. They would row out in Lake Erie trolling Yellow Sally's on a June bug spinner and a piece of worm.

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On 3/25/2022 at 1:48 PM, smerchly said:

That might have been me ......   :rolleyes: .... I don't remember the blues being caught there but lots of silvers !  

 

I have heard that too . We have better dna technology today which makes me question the validity of blue pickerel being a distinctive species . Why did they die off ? What caused them to become 'extinct' ? The blues in the 12 Mile were living mostly in L.Erie water plus some stream water from short Hills & Effingham Creek . But we also had tons of paper mill discharge going into Gibson and from the old canal system from Thorold into the 12 at the city core. So,  were these blues just reg.eyes with a different chemical makeup which brought on their demise ?  Today's science should be able to pin point the reason they died off ......But it was fun catching them as a kid !

It might have been Smerch although that would put you over 100 easily. lol. We used to fish for perch in the summer and browns around Jan/feb if memory serves correct down there. People used to come from all over to fill up truck loads of water bottles from the pure spring water that evidently turned out to get its special taste from the dump runoff🤢

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Well , not quite 100 yet but only a couple decades to go . I remember people getting the cold water which came through the cliff & Americans would fill up 5 gal.cans . Others gathered water cress for their salads & robins could be seen there all winter .  I heard there was a church & old cemetery above that water spot ....not  thrilled to hear that !  But they tested the water and left a sign with the test results . 

  The blues are gone and the silvers have diminished greatly over the years . They were thick there at the 'sand pile' .

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