REGIONAL— If you’re planning to take to your favorite lake for the May 15 fishing opener, the Department of Natural Resources is recommending that you familiarize yourself with the new …
REGIONAL— If you’re planning to take to your favorite lake for the May 15 fishing opener, the Department of Natural Resources is recommending that you familiarize yourself with the new zone regulations for northern pike.
“Sometimes anglers who catch northern pike are fishing for other types of fish and aren’t sure what to do with that toothy pike on the line,” said Bethany Bethke, DNR fisheries research scientist. “We want these anglers to be equipped with the knowledge they need to keep a pike if that’s their desire.”
Minnesota has three northern pike zones that apply to inland waters and reflect the differing characteristics of pike populations across the state:
In northeastern Minnesota, anglers are allowed no more than two pike and must release all pike between 30 and 40 inches. One fish over 40 inches is allowed.
In north-central Minnesota, anglers are allowed a limit of 10 northern pike, but not more than two pike longer than 26 inches. All fish 22 to 26 inches must be released.
The DNR implemented the zone regulations in 2018 following extensive public input and comments. In the north-central zone, the northern pike regulations address angler concerns about the over-abundance of small, or “hammer-handle,” northern pike.
“Northern pike can be delicious table fare. We encourage anglers to know the regulations and give a meal of pike a try,” Bethke said. “Northern pike require a little more work while filleting, and anglers can check the DNR website and other online sources for how-to videos on cleaning northern pike.”
Throughout the state, special regulations that cover individual lakes, rivers and streams remain in effect and take precedence over the zone regulations. The northern pike zone regulations do not apply to border waters.
More information about northern pike zones, including a zone map, is available on the DNR’s northern pike page.