Vital statistics of Esox masquinongy in Nogies Creek, Ontario: Population size, natural mortality and effects of fishing

Several methods for the estimation of population size and natural mortality are used and evaluated, for the Nogies Creek maskinonge, with consideration being given to the sources of error and correcting factors discussed by Muir (1963a). The Schumacher tagging method and a method using only catch and average exploitation are found to be equally useful.The same catch and exploitation method is used to estimate natural mortality and the estimates agree with those from the Beverton and Holt type method. Both methods suffer from large year-to-year errors but the 9-year average appears to be a useful statistic. Natural mortality increases with age and is about 15% per year for age IV and older and about 24% per year for age V and older.There is only a 2-fold variation in the estimated age IV size of year-classes. The smallest of 9 year-classes was 302 and the largest was 604. No effect of fishing on subsequent year-class production could be demonstrated during the period of study. Heavy fishing did, however, remove large numbers of older fish with a resultant increase in catchability of the younger fish.