We received a letter to the editor from Heather Leschied who schooled us on the difference between pike and pike minnows.

In Kootenay Mountain Culture #32, the Fringe Issue, long-time contributing writer Dave Quinn wrote about bourbot on Lake Windermere. In it, a photo caption appeared mentioning the northern pike and how it was introduced to the lake. Turns out we got the wrong pike.

Above: Burbot aren’t exactly the most beautiful fish, but they taste good, which is why they were overfished. Top: Provincial fish biologist Sarah Stephenson is one of the people helping bring back Kootenay burbot populations. Stephenson also works with sturgeon and is featured in our story “Koogopogo” about monster-sized white sturgeon.

Heather Leschied writes:

Dear Editor,

As the Program Manager for the Lake Windermere Project,  a five-year citizen science water quality monitoring, community engagement and lake management planning initiative that ran from 2005-2010, I read with interest Dave Quinn’s article titled, “When Burbot Bloomed.” Dave is a friend and respected colleague, someone I admire for his ethics, knowledge and ability to communicate complex environmental issues  and leave people keen to get involved in positive actions. This is why I imagine the photo description on page 142 was not intentionally incorrect, but rather the result of a common misunderstanding. You have likely already heard from long-time fisherfolk from Lake Windermere, but because this is something that I often corrected during my time leading the water stewardship initiative, I feel that I should make mention that northern pike (Esox lucius) and pike minnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis) are not the same species. There are no northern pike in Lake Windermere. There are pike minnow, which are native to the region. It is understandable that these two fish cause confusion, but to say that the invasive northern pike are in Lake Windermere is incorrect and could rightfully cause a lot of concern!

Thank you,

Heather Leschied
Programs Director
Living Lakes Canada
Nelson, BC