1. Stocking of piscivores in shallow, eutrophicated lakes to reduce cyprinid densities is a common approach in lake restorations. Young-of-the-year (YOY) pike Esox lucius are frequently used to reduce cyprinid densities, but their effectiveness is equivocal. This study uses a simple model to assess the efficacy of pike stocking as a lake restoration tool. 2. The model evaluates YOY pike consumption in relation to different survival and growth patterns, timing of stocking, degree of piscivory of pike as well as YOY cyprinid growth patterns and productivity. The parameters used in the model are obtained from field surveys in eight study lakes stocked with YOY pike as well as from the literature. 3. Our model showed that all parameters studied were important for predicting the effects of pike stocking on cyprinids. In particular, body size at stocking, cyprinid production and pike survival were good predictors of biomanipulation success. 4. However, our model showed that only under very specific circumstances will stocking of YOY pike result in a reduction of YOY cyprinid densities large enough to affect water quality. 5. The findings of this study question the efficacy of pike stocking as an appropriate and reliable tool for restoration programmes in shallow lakes, and indicate that when used efforts should be made to optimize the timing of stocking in relation to YOY cyprinid production and to increase the stocking body size of the pike.