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Rip De Lips

Is the special 40 inch min pike reg for this lake gone? I only see a 10 per day sunfish limit listed. Thanks 

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gimruis

I don't fish this lake but from what I can tell there are not any special pike regulations other than the general state regulations.  It lies in the Northeast Zone which is defined as being east of Hwy 53.

 

Northeast Zone: 2 (not more than 1 over 40" in possession. All from 30-40" must be immediately released.)

 

Looks like you are correct with the sunfish regulation.  Not sure why anyone would even WANT to keep a pike over 40 inches.  You could easily get a replica made instead and eating one that big not only would taste terrible but also probably eliminate the apex predator in system.

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Rip De Lips

Thank you for your reply. Like you, I would have no interest in keeping one over 40". It was a lake specific regulation for many years and I just didnt see when it ended. I fish this lake (but only once / year) and the pike are everywhere in it now. I was hoping more people would keep smaller ones to thin it out.

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gimruis
21 hours ago, Rip De Lips said:

I fish this lake (but only once / year) and the pike are everywhere in it now. I was hoping more people would keep smaller ones to thin it out.

The lake you speak of is a statewide problem on many lakes here.  So many of our small to mid size lakes are over run with small pike because the large ones were harvested too often.  I worked on this very issue when I was employed by the DNR.  Anglers complained that all they could catch were hammer handles and I would ask them what they did with a bigger one.  The answer was almost always "I kept it."  I foresee us going down a similar path with panfish too, unfortunately.

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Getanet
1 hour ago, gimruis said:

The lake you speak of is a statewide problem on many lakes here.  So many of our small to mid size lakes are over run with small pike because the large ones were harvested too often.  I worked on this very issue when I was employed by the DNR.  Anglers complained that all they could catch were hammer handles and I would ask them what they did with a bigger one.  The answer was almost always "I kept it."  I foresee us going down a similar path with panfish too, unfortunately.

 

I know it's a thankless task, but sometimes I wonder if the DNR spreads themselves too thin on some of this stuff.  For example, about 8-10 years ago I received an email from the DNR and there was a section on lakes with special recommendations/experiments.  The lake my family's cabin is on was listed as one they were trying to increase the size of pike on.  I was really surprised because the lake is only about 250 acres and while there was an access - it wasn't one owned by the state or county so it's not a real popular lake and the DNR kind of leaves it alone.

 

They were asking people to keep pike under a certain size and let ones over 30 inches go. Nobody I spoke to up there knew anything about the DNR plan, and I never heard anything more about it in the following years on whether people followed that guidance and/or what results were achieved.

 

My guess is the initial "notice" was the beginning and end of that effort.  

 

Rather than trying to experiment with too many lakes, I wonder if they wouldn't be better served doing a real good job on one or two lake and document the results.  My guess would be if they could show an increase in the size of certain species through experimental regulations that Lake Associations would be knocking down their door to voluntarily implement some of these changes and would spread the word to people who live on the lake. I realize Lake Associations don't own or control a lake, but there are thousands of lakes in MN that aren't fished often by people that don't own property on the lake. 

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gimruis

I can't speak for Elephant Lake or the lake you speak of Getanet, but the number of lakes in trouble with stunted populations of pike is easily in the hundreds.  When I was employed by the DNR in the mid 2000's, they were thinking of implementing special pike regulations on a number of lakes in the Aitkin area so I was responsible for surveys on these lakes all summer.  I would interview anglers and ask them what they thought.  You'd be shocked to hear how many people were against it.  Presumably because they still wanted to harvest a big one.  I didn't get into that portion of the conversation with any of them because that wasn't a part of the interview outline.

 

A big pike nowadays caught in Minnesota inland waters from a small or mid size lake is very rare.  In many smaller lakes, a 30+ inch pike is often the apex predator and there isn't very many of them.  So harvesting one or two every year for a few years quickly depletes it.  Now there's no top predator left.  So the small ones go unchecked and the genetics for growing big ones are removed.  Big pike are the best controller of small pike too because they are cannibalistic (most predatory fish are).  The Biologist responsible for this new experimental regulation told me all this information when I worked there.

 

Then the problem snowballs from there.  The lake is stocked with walleye fingerlings or fry and it just feeds the bellies of the small, aggressive pike.  Meanwhile, people catch them regularly and often don't harvest them.  Then people complain that there's no big ones left.  Having a 10-fish daily bag limit in most of the state may help but its going to take a long time before you see results.

 

Bigger lake systems have mostly avoided this issue because they usually have muskies.  Muskies help keep small pike in check too but for a very long time, winter spearing was banned on lakes with muskies.  For example, the most recent pike sampling study in Mille Lacs revealed that about 1/3 of all pike in that lake are over 30 inches and 10% are over 36 inches.

 

I do a lot of bass and muskie fishing and I catch a lot of pike by accident wherever I fish.  90% of them are of the smaller variety.  That alone tells me that we have a problem that isn't going away anytime soon.  I catch maybe 2 or 3 all season that exceed 30 inches.

 

I can't make people keep the small ones and would never fault someone for that, but its vital to release any over 26 inches in length now.  In order to restore balance in these lakes, we need more big ones and less small ones.

Edited by gimruis
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delcecchi

As a pike fisherman on Vermilion, I hated the 24 inch max regulation.     That meant that if I should choose to harvest a pike for dinner I only had about 1 1/2 inches between too skinny and in the slot.   I thought the Ontario 27 inch (actually something in cm) was preferable.    And now suddenly it is 30 inches...   So I'm happy and hope the fisheries guys know what they are doing.    Not a big fan of spearing (or harpooning, as the columnist for the PP back in the day called it).   It's fun and all, but too harvest oriented for the modern era.   

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StillFishin'

Yea, I wasn’t a fan of the 24” pike reg either.  With the 30” now I can keep a 24-28” for a meal.  Anything bigger goes back.

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delcecchi
On 3/30/2021 at 7:42 AM, StillFishin' said:

Yea, I wasn’t a fan of the 24” pike reg either.  With the 30” now I can keep a 24-28” for a meal.  Anything bigger goes back.

That's what I like, a 25-28 is big enough to be worth cleaning.    Bigger goes back.  And I only need one.   

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