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love2fish4ever

Pike size

26 posts in this topic

I could be wrong, but many times I wonder about the numers of pike of ALL sizes that go home with anglers & I realize that when there are no restrictions (minimum size limit) that it is everyones right to do so. Granted, the minimum size limit isn't the whole answer, as I have spoken to the DNR about the success of the minimum size restrictions that are in place on Reeds, Kelly-Dudley & St.Olaf. They tell me that so far it hasn't necessarily produced more large or trophy fish as much as it has obviously increased the numbers of fish up to the 30" size. Like T.O. & others have mentioned, it has alot to do with the numbers & type of forage available to the pike, along with the right lake characteristics. Maybe it's not a good idea, but what if more of the right kind of forage were introduced to other lakes (??) I know it's been said that Madison has gizzard shad, is this unique to that lake or do others have them too? I know Madison is a great fish producer, size & numbers, but I believe this has alot to do with the sportsman's clubs that support it. Personally, I like the minimum size restrictions, although enforcing them is another matter. Any thoughts? L2f

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Madison does have all the right conditions to support large pike and other species. It also has an abundance of forage. The shad in that lake at times tend to get way out of line like three years ago, there were times when you would look down the hole and it looked like you were looking into a minnow tank! shocked.gif Washington has a pretty good forage base, but does not have good breeding conditions for Walleye and is limited for pike. As far as a slot on pike, not a bad idea. It will in the long run help stabilize situations like what happened on Madison and eventually help bring back some of these other lakes. Introducing forage back into a lake like Francis, for example, could help but there may be other bigger issues in doing it and why the population is down at the moment. Mother nature has a way of working it out. I bet in a few years from now we will look back and be saying, "remember when there wasn't a pike to be had out here?" as we are pulling in another slimmer. grin.gif

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Thanks for your thoughts on this DS, you have a good point,as you said, some lakes are just "set up" better than others for certain species. I've never fished Washington, but from what I've gathered through posts on here it's a really decent panfish lake for size & numbers. This also is cyclical as you said with other fish & lakes, it all takes time to come around, & just like fishing it requires patience. It is fun to be at a lake in it's early stages of a good year(s) before the word really gets out, although that doesn't last as long as it used to. I don't get a chance to get out & pioneer it like I used to, but the time is coming.

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When I was a kid, we had a place on Reeds and I remember all the old-timers taking monster size (for southern MN) pike there all the time. But, since I was a kid, I have notice how abundant sunfish are on Reeds and how there size is tiny now. The only upside to this is it's a great place to take little kids fishing.

I also know Reeds saw a lot of spearing pressure in the 80's and the size limit has not stoped spearing there today, it has just made the large pike targeted. FYI, for those who spear, I am not against spearing but on that lake, it is still a factor.

After 10 or so years of the special limit, I am really supprized the size hasn't improved. Largemouth do well there but the 10 to 20 lb pike I remember as a kid are not even close to returning.

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I said this in another post, but i'll say it again here. Its too bad more anglers in MN arent as gung ho on pike slots as walleye slots. Seeing how some of these slots have increased the size of the walleyes we catch in some lakes, i can't help but think of how lakes might benifit from pike slots. If we could just protect pike when they hit say the 5lb mark or something like that. Now some lakes you can't even catch a 5 lber so it won't work on all lakes obviously. Madison is a lake in which i think could benefit from a slot. Maybe 24-36 or 38" have too be released. I fish Winnie alot. Talk about a lake that needs a slot. In a matter of years you could be talking about numbers of 10 lb plus fish with a slot in place. The lake is currently overloaded with puny hammer handles and the DNR is encouraging people too take these out of the lakes and eat them. Its like this. A lake can hold only a certain "poundage" of fish. That number corresponds with forage base. So say that Winnie can hold a million pounds of pike for instance. You can have a million pike averaging a pound. You can have a half a million northerns averaging 2 lbs. You could have 200,000 pike averaging 5 lbs and so on. So by encouraging anglers too take a bunch of these 2 lb fish out of the lake it makes more room for the fish left too grow. I can't help but think the same might hold true for a lake like Reeds. If the lake is overrun with 2 lb pike than encouraging people too take a bunch of these fish out might be the right course of action too help increase the size. So if your fishing a lake that is over run with hammer handles remember this and help the lake by taking a few of them home too eat. Since we have heard this about Winnie we now keep and eat some of the 2-2 1/2 lb fish instead of nothing but walleyes. The 5 lbers go back and we keep the ones the DNR told us too keep.

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Good point James, I always wondered that too, I know that the walleye is #1, but it seems that I don't know too many fisherman who wouldn't want to tie into some nice pike for a good time, but maybe not enough to pursue a program to get that going, although it's the DNR's decision. A slot would be great, small ones for those that want them for the table, the prime range for fun & good breeding, & the big one's for the wall if one choose's too. Maybe it's the extra man-power that is lacking in the DNR budget that it would take to keep this in check. To really make that work they would probably have to monitor it pretty close for awhile.

L2f

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Nope Not at all, the reason i dont fish the pike is becuase i dont know how to fillet them, i tried today got a nice 3lber. anyways thats why i throw all my pike back, dont want to cut em up.

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My dilema is that I love pike to eat & I do know how to fillet it boneless,but it seems that anything less than 4 or 5 lbs. is more waste than meat by the time you take that wedge along the center of the fillet that has the "Y" bones. Now is where my problem comes, that's the size range ( 5, 6, 7 lbs. & up) that I have a problem putting a knife to. I look at it & think, wow what a nice fish, & considering how long it took to get that size, I put it back & go find panfish if I want a meal.Don't get me wrong I will on occation take one for the table if I'm in need of a quick meal for the family, but 95% of the time they swim.That's a personal choice & maybe a little over conservative, but it would be cool to have lakes for pike, like Clear in Waseca is for bass & know that when I go there my chances to catch a sizeable fish is better than most, & there's just one way to do that. This summer we went to Mille Lacs a couple of times & when it was a little to choppy to go way out for the walleyes, we trolled the edges for pike (they have a minimum of 36") & was it a blast! One morning we caught 8 smallest was 27" largest was 34". Between that & the smallies (minimum 20") it was great, & definitely doing it again next year.

L2f

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Love2fish, I too know how to clean northerns so they are bonless. Like everything practice makes perfect. The thing I like to do with my northerns is clean them to get a boneless fillet for the dinner table. I also keep the "Wye Bone Strip" for pickeling. Keeping all of the scraps uses the whole fish and keep me from feeling like I am wasting so much. Also when you are cleaning a few pike and have someone new watching, let them take a try at taking some bones out. This way after they have mangled the first fillet or two before they get the hang of it, you still can put them into the pickeling pile and not waste the fish. I can only eat so much pickled fish but alot of people sure like to get a jar as a little gift.

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It seems that the lakes without a good population of larger pike awlays seem to have an over abundance of small panfish. Lakes like Madison and Washington that have some deep water for the pike in the summer have the bigger fish also and it seems have the bigger panfish. The lakes need those monster pike in them to keep the balance. Taking a pike out of a lake at this point over ten pounds does a lot of damage to the structure of the fish population for years. The lakes need these top of the food chain predetors to eat the other speices to there normal levels. Its easy to tell which lakes could use the size limit restrictions be the size of the panfish population.

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CB34, that's a good idea, Ive only pickled fish once, they were perch. So do those y bones just break down & aren't an issue or what?

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Yes, the wye bones break down in the viniger/salt mixture. Pickling northerns is the only thing many people do with pike because they dont know how to take the wye bones out. As for the Wye bone strip, all you end up with is a bone free strip of pickled meat which was otherwise thrown away. If you look on the sharing recipes forum you can find a lot of recipes for pickling fish.

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I'm with love2fish4ever. Until hard water fishing starts, everything I catch locally swims again. To me, the little meat off a 2 pounder is not worth killing a fish over, even if small. But then, I chase meat on the big ponds and downriggers are required.

Far as taking the small ones, I am not sure that works either. DNR has been traping sunfish on Reeds (for stocking other lakes) for years and it hasn't made a size difference. Overall, preditor / prey models are complicated and I have just came to accept that if I catch fish, a good day fishing just became a great day.

Well, except those agressive bullheads that hit my spinnerbaits in the fall and those Lake Francis dogfish picking up my plastic worms in the summer. Those make a bummer day fishing.

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I'm stickin' with the "forage theory".

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Holy lord boys, a 2-3 lb pike has one heck of a fillet on it. I don't care too clean them because of the slime but i'll keep some on Winnie and i think a 2 1/2-3 lb pike is all a person needs. There all head and meat!

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yep, I don't believe there is any one solution, but a good combination of good forage, fish vs. acres ratio, & conservation efforts by everyone. Control what you can, accept what you can't. smirk.gif

L2f

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Quote:

They're all head and meat!


Kind of like a Viking fan minus the head. grin.gif

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That is one heck of of fillet,...until you take that center strip down the middle that has the bones, & with not much belly meat all you have is the back meat. Looks like you just skinned a couple snakes(real ones). As far as the amount, there's the quote that means something, cause you're right James, ...."is all a person needs." That's where the conservation comes in, take what you need, not what you can, & with that frame of mind, taking smaller pike isn't that big of a deal.

As far as the Viking fan, 3/4 of that meat is heart. Remember the "Replacements"? cool.gifcrazy.gif

Good fishing guys!

L2f

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The conservation part of the deal is pretty much the only reason i'll keep the pike on Winnie. We don't have a problem catching eyes too eat but if the DNR says this will help the lake, i'll clean some 2-3 lbers to take home or to eat. I also like smaller fillets i guess. I don't like the fillets of a 5 lb northern. There pretty much like steaks they are so thick. Just as i also would rather fillet a 14" walleye than a 18" walleye for the same reason. I guess what i'm saying is that whether its Winnie, or a southern MN lake, its nice too see a 5-6 lb pike go back. They are the future 10 lbers. And although a pain in the arse, keeping and cleaning a couple 2 1/2 lb pike rather than one 5 or 6 lb pike is better for our lakes. I think the deal is, especially "up north", is that pretty much everyone has the mindset that well i spent all this money on this trip, i'm going too keep what i can and not what i need. And you know what, i really can't say much about the people that do it, they arent breaking the law by keeping an 8 lb pike too eat. Selective harvest is the key though. Its not about putting everything back, its about putting the right fish back.

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i had a ? here if the pike on lake frans r thin and small, why is there so many panfish 2" to 5 " in the lake that the pike could eat.

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Again, I could be wrong, but I think that if you could get an honest count of how many people come & go on that lake (or any other lake in the area) you would be amazed.Now if you could get an HONEST COUNT of how many fish went out with all those people you would also be amazed (disappointed, saddened etc.), but your question may have been answered. I don't believe these lakes can keep up to the demands for very long, they go thriough cycles due to fishing pressure. A good number of years back when certain lakes would reach a peak of a species, which they do, it would be great, even when word got out, for quite some time.Now there are many more anglers, it been a boom in the last 10-15 years, & when these lakes peak now they seem to get decended upon, look at the access in the summer or the number of houses in the winter. Those that have been fishing around here for the last 20 years know what I'm talking about. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, just re-enforces the need for moral conservation, back to the "need vs. can" limits again. Look what was posted about lake Elysian last spring, LOTS of people many there repeatedly, which is their right to do so & taking what they legally can, also within their rights (leagally)...morally?? well....that's an individual choice. Basically, you just have to be lucky enough to be at a lake that is peaking or good enough as many on here are, at knowing the right time, presentation & application, & from what I can tell nearly all of them cherish what's out there & strive to preserve it, we need to increase the number of people that feel that way.Like with anything else, the more people that use something, the more people need to care about it. I know that was an awful long answer to a very short question. Just my observation, any thoughts? L2f

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Technology alone has changed the way a lot of people fish, including myself. The fish have less of chance than they did 10 - 15 years ago too.

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Good point T.O., but that's progess, & if it makes fishing more enjoyable, that's what it's all about. cool.gif

Besides, who doesn't like to get new toys?

L2f

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In some cases, though, greed follows progress.

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I think TO hit the nail on the head. The technology used today is remarkable. People (DNR) need to realize it is in fact much easier to catch fish and adjust the limits/slots. Let's face many people have their own personal "slots" but these aren't the guys we need to reach. Many people still feel it's their right or duty to leave a lake with their limit and until it's illegal they won't quit. A few examples....crappies on german, frances, and reeds....walleyes on elysian/scotch 1-2 yrs ago, wita this year and many other lakes this year I won't mention, panfish on Washington. I bet most of you remember the first time you used a vexilar to fish crappies in 30+ feet....I know I do, I was on reeds and caught 26 to my dads 4. Look at german, it was almost automatic to find nice crappies in that hole. But in the old days you had a minnow and moon glow at 5, 10 and 15 feet off the bottom, hoping you'd find them coming though. Now you can find them by turning on the vex and even more importantly, you know when to jig or raise the bait to trigger many more strikes.

I love to eat fish, and I don't hold that against anyone. But we can't keep taking and taking, and then wonder where our resource has gone. I know I caught a lot of grief for saying this same stuff about elysian last year and the year before, but look at the lake this year. I think limits need to be lowered and the dnr has to be out there enforcing the law.

A little long winded and I know this isn't entirely the reason behind the small pike out there, but overharvest is a bigger problem than most out there think...imo.

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