How Many Smolt Can A Pikeminnow Consume in One Day?

Written by Dane in Fishing
Image Credits: Pixabay.com

When I was reading about the diets of pikeminnow on the internet recently after finding out that they eat other fish, I began to wonder how much they can really consume in just one day. 

So, I did some more digging to determine the average amounts of smolt these fish are capable of eating at one time.

How many smolt can a pikeminnow consume in just one day? A full-grown adult pikeminnow fish has the capability to consume up to 15 smolt in just one day. However, this is a record amount for the largest pikeminnow, and the average amount of smolt eaten by most of these fish is much lower than the maximum of 15.

The pikeminnow fish is an aggressive and carnivorous species that has been causing trouble in lakes and rivers all around the world for several years by eating valuable game fish before fishermen can get their hands on them, with smolt being their favorite treat.

Keep reading to find out just how far these mischievous fish will really go when it comes to hunting for salmon and trout smolt.

How Many Smolt a Pikeminnow Can Consume in One Day

How Many Smolt a Pikeminnow Can Consume In One Day:

  • 15 smolts per day (largest adult pikeminnow)

When certain types of fish, usually salmon or trout, reach a certain stage in their development, they become smolt. They will both begin as “fry” shortly after they are born, which is the smallest size they will ever be.

Once they have passed the fry stage and grown slightly larger, they will graduate into the next stage, where they are called “parr”. The parr stage is followed by the stage of development that is in question, the “smolt" phase.

It is not until they grow shiny silver scales and begin to migrate toward the ocean that they are classified as smolt. Still relatively small and not yet full sized, the smolt become a frequent target for pikeminnow, a larger predatory fish that lurks in the depths of slow-moving streams and lakes.

Due to their small size, smolt are a relatively easy catch for the massive pikeminnow that is always hiding in the shadows, on the hunt for anything it can sink its teeth into. However, pikeminnow is not scared of any prey, and will even eat other fish of their own kind if necessary. Even further, smolt is classified as one of their favorite foods.

Although their diets consist of insects, other fish, plastic, garbage, and even other pikeminnow, they are especially attracted to the shiny smolt that swim through their territory.

In fact, they account for a large portion of what a Pikeminnow will eat on any given day, so the large numbers of smolt that can be consumed in one day does not come as much of a surprise.

Both salmon and trout are classified as “gamefish”, meaning that they can be caught for sport. Additionally, these fish are highly desirable to catch for food. Therefore, the Pikeminnow is an enemy to fishermen all over the world.

The fact that pikeminnow consume a very high percentage of salmon and trout smolt, it poses a threat to the fishermen that have set their eyes on catching these fish when they are full grown.

Judging by the fishing rewards programs that offer monetary compensation from fishing for Pikeminnow and removing them from the lakes should tell you just how many salmon and trout smolt are eaten by these predators every day.

If their contribution to smolt mortality rates were insignificant, fishing regulators would not put forth so much effort in order to get rid of them.

So, just how many smolt can a pikeminnow consume all in one day? Let’s just say, there is a reason why fishermen are so worried about pikeminnow eliminating these tiny fish before they have the opportunity to reach their adult size.

The biggest pikeminnow fish that have grown to full capacity have been reported to consume up to 15 smolt in just one day. This is a very high amount, due to the fact that there are so many pikeminnow in lakes and rivers all over the world. As a result, the population of salmon and trout in these areas take a huge loss.

Although adult pikeminnow have the ability to eat around 15 salmon and trout smolt in the same day, this does not mean that every one of these fish will have that big of an appetite to settle.

In fact, the statistics for daily smolt consumption of the average pikeminnow is much less than the highest record of 15.

How Many Smolt do Pikeminnow Usually Consume in a Day?

Pikeminnow Daily Smolt Consumption:

  • Average Adult: Up to 6
  • Largest Adult: Up to 15

While it is true that the adult pikeminnow fish that have reached the highest capacity in length and weight have the ability to eat up to 15 salmon smolt in one day, this is not the case for the average sized adult pikeminnow.

In comparison to the extremely high statistic of 15 smolt a day, a pikeminnow of regular size will eat up to 6 smolt throughout an average day, among other things. 

This number will fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, including the age and size of the pikeminnow.

This average is significantly lower for young pikeminnow that are still in their first stages of development, as they will usually consume smaller insects and larvae that float around in the water during their first phases of life.

Almost 80 percent of a Pikeminnow’s diet consists of salmon and trout smolt, which is a very high number. Whether they eat less than a dozen smolts per day or almost 20 of them, these small fish still account for more than half of what a Pikeminnow will eat throughout their lives.

In conclusion, the Pikeminnow fish is a predator of smaller salmon and trout fish, along with anything else they can find.

Depending on the size and stage of development of each pikeminnow, they have the potential to consume over a dozen smolt in just one day alone. 

However, the average smolt consumption for most Pikeminnow will come in under 6.

If the Pikeminnow’s smolt consumption is a topic that has sparked your curiosity just like it has mine, hopefully you gained all of the information you needed to know after reading this article.

What else do pikeminnow eat besides smolt?

Pikeminnow fish are a very aggressive species, and will eat almost anything they can get their hands on. This includes, but is not limited to fish eggs, insects, dead animal matter, other fish of all sizes, and even other pikeminnow. These carnivorous species are always on the hunt for something they can eat, even if its plastic or garbage.

Where can pikeminnow be found?

Pikeminnow fish are most commonly found in slow-moving water bodies such as lakes and calm streams. As far as geographical locations, the most dense populations of pikeminnow can be found in Washington and Oregon in the United States, among other places around the world.

Can you eat a pikeminnow?

Pikeminnow can be eaten by humans, although they have been regarded as less than desirable for many years. Within the fishing community, they are known as a “trash” fish. With several tiny, sharp bones throughout the meat and not much flavor, pikeminnow is less than a delicacy. However, they are edible and can be eaten.

About Dane

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