â€śStocking Pike in Chicago River: Hopeful Signs of a Beginning,â€ť Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Streams specialist Steve Pescitelli stocks northern pike fingerlings into the North Shore Channel.
Full article text: A pair of Canada geese with a lone gosling waddled the shoreline. A mallard pair swim and dove by the dock.
Life builds along the Chicago River system as it cleans up.
A boost came Tuesday afternoon with the stocking of 2,000 5-inch northern pike fingerlings on the North Shore Channel by Dammrich Rowing Center in Skokie.
â€śI thought it was a good match, a little more sexy than channel catfish [stocked last year],â€™â€™ stream specialist Steve Pescitelli said.
Fisheries technician Mark Moldenhauer made the four-hour drive from the Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery in Topeka in a pickup with well-oxygenated tanks.
â€śSwim and be free,â€™â€™ intoned Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River, as she released one that fell from a net.
Similar to the channel catfish stocking, the project built on a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chi-Cal Rivers Fund.
As to why pike, Pescitelli said some are already in the system and, with the planned reintroduction of emergent vegetation, stocking pike makes sense.
They will be â€śnailing down spotsâ€™â€™ for reintroduction of vegetation this year and the work will likely begin next year.
Lizardâ€™s tail, which grows well in shade, should do well along the shaded waters of the North Shore Channel and North Branch. But Pescitelli said in areas where bank restoration was done, there are sunny spots with rock substrata natural for water-willow.
Similar aquatic plant reintroductions have done well on the Fox and DuPage rivers.
He acknowledged that some of the pike will likely end up in the Chicago harbors because pike move around so much.
â€śBut, with the vegetation there, we are hoping they stick around and provide some angling in the North shore Channel,â€™â€™ Pescitelli said. â€śBut we are fine with that being a source for moving out in the system. They will spread out.â€™â€™
He expects the pike to be 8-10 inches by next spring.
â€śIt is pretty exciting project,â€™â€™ he said. â€śPut some plants in there and some pike and see how it works.â€™â€™
When I asked, Frisbie said, â€śMy hope and dream is to be swimming with the fish. Iâ€™m an optimistic. I like to think by 2020.â€™â€™
To tweak a line from The Persuaders, it is a thin line between optimism and insanity.
But I like that possibility.
"....you're killin' me Smalls"!
- Hamilton 'Ham' Porter, aka; 'The Great Hambino'.