Minnesota DNR Emphasizes Northern Pike Restrictions on Fishing Season Opener

The DNR encourages people to catch fish under 22 inches long to help balance the population

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — After a long winter, many fishers are excited to break out their fishing rods and reel in a big prize on the lakes.

“I like to fish a lot so you kind of wake up and you kind of hope for this day. You know as the day comes closer, and you kind of more and more anticipate. It’s pretty cool just to be out here fishing with other people,” said Peter Chen, a fisherman who spent the opener at Detroit Lakes.

But with fishing season in Detroit Lakes starting up, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has some tips for people to follow.

“The biggest thing they’re going to want to know is clean, dry, and dispose. So when you come off the lake, you’re going to want to try and clean your boat off, make sure there are no plants attached. If you had your anchor out, make sure that is all clean, and then if you can, try to dry your boat at least five days before you go to another water body,” said Nathan Olson, the Area Fisheries Supervisor for the Minnesota DNR.

New this year is restrictions on catching Northern Pike.

In the North–Central Zone of Minnesota, which includes Detroit Lakes, the DNR wants fishers to release medium to large size northern pike back into the water.

“Actually what we’re hoping is that the medium size fish will actually start to eat some of the smaller fish, and actually start to change the size structure to a larger average size for anglers to hopefully catch in the future,” said Olson.

The size range for medium to large Northern Pike in Minnesota is 22 to 40 inches, and Olson says the DNR would like the abundance of that population to grow over the next year.

“The biggest thing is to be releasing the fish within the 22 to 26 inch slot limit, so if you catch a pike in that range you have to release it,” said Olson.

But even with those restrictions, fishers like Chen are happy just to be back out on the water.

“I’ve been kind of watching fishing videos on YouTube for a little bit, so you can say I’m pretty excited,” said Chen.

Even with the restrictions on catching medium and large size Northern Pike, fishers are allowed to catch just two fish over 26 inches.

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