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Pike limit change.. effective?

  • Mos’
    Participant
    Posts: 81
    #1943159

    More of a theoretical question, curious on opinions and I know its early in the new regulation so hard to say but It comes after a few days on Whitefish Chain admittedly but I think it applies to lots of lakes in central Minnesota. Question is what do you think would be the result; if any if everyone kept their 10 snakes like the new regulations allow? Would we see an appreciable change in size structure? Do you think you would see a decline in numbers (i.e. burning through 2 dozen shiners) on all pike the same size along one stretch of weedline or would pike reproduction keep right up?

    I just mean I can pickle a few pike but otherwise I am releasing probably 25-50 pike a day out there all the same size and I am wondering if most are doing the same will anything change vs if we all kept our 10.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7883
    #1943185

    This problem isn’t anything new. The abundance of snakes in many lakes around the state, especially the central region, has been present for at least 15 years. The DNR should have started doing something about it a decade ago. Sadly, I think its too late to reverse this problem in many systems. Big pike were harvested too often for too long. Big pike were often the apex predator in small lakes too (since most do not have muskies), so removing those fish caused a collapse of the entire system in some cases. You have tons of small pike going unchecked, feeding aggressively on whatever they can (including walleye fry/fingerlings the DNR attempts to stock). And since the primary predator keeping small pike in check were big pike…well, you can see the issue. It takes many years for a pike to get to quality size (30+ inches) up here in the north. They simply just don’t grow very fast.

    I personally don’t know anyone who keeps 10 daily. I know a few people that pickle the small ones (which are quite tasty might I add), but not nearly enough are doing it. Like you said Mos, I think most people are simply releasing the dozens of them they catch nowadays. I hate cleaning those slimy buzzards. I’ll sometimes catch 30-40 of them in a day chasing bass and maybe 1 will be 30+ inches. There’s really no reason to use a shiner to target these things. They’ll bite anything flashy and sometimes other stuff too.

    So, finally, do I think it will ultimately be effective? Perhaps. But it surely hasn’t shown any results yet.

    Steve Root
    Participant
    South St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 5161
    #1943193

    I concur. If most Minnesota lakes had squadrons of bigger Pike running around, a lot of species would be better regulated. Stunted panfish, endless numbers of small Northerns, etc. Even if a guy REALLY liked pickled Northern, how much of it could you actually eat? I don’t know what else you could do with 10 little snakes. I wish the regulations said something like “anything over 36 inches goes back in the lake”.

    SR

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 6974
    #1943198

    I don’t fish one lake enough to have any anecdotal idea on if it’s having the intended impact. Seems like it will depend on a lot on if and how many people are keeping the hammer handles. Personally I love eating pike, and the small ones make for awesome table fare imo, if you can’t fillet out the y-bones you can make a horizontal cut on the fillet’s and most of the small y-bones will disintegrate in the frying process. Not ideal for kids, but parents seem to love them!

    Mos’
    Participant
    Posts: 81
    #1943199

    That’s what I was thinking.. concerned we might never see the effect of the new regs

    And no I realize you don’t need shiners to catch them.. naive me was trying for the walleye in the afternoon that seem to only appear in the evening on the Whitefish chain. I was determined to win the war of attrition and tell myself one of these snakes has to be a walleye at some point! And after 50 of them I had to throw this post out to see what everyone makes of it. I would consider keeping my 10 and take what meat I can if I believed that it would make a difference

    FishBlood&RiverMud
    Participant
    Prescott
    Posts: 6253
    #1943201

    You can change rules, but rules don’t change culture.
    Culture in MN is to not keep the small ones.
    Culture in MN is to keep big pike.

    If you want to make a change, do your part to change the culture. Cut up them little pike. Share it with friends and family. Show them how to do the same. Only then, when the masses start to harvest smaller pike will you see a difference.

    Culture is created from habit. You must change habit to alter culture. You sir are certainly a spokesman for old culture not wanting to eat small pike. Your willingness to change is a great measure of the overall populations willingness to change.
    If your taking pike home in hopes to improve the fishery, i’m not sure how long your motivated. If your taking home small pike to enjoy and share with friends and family..There’s hope for the long term culture change.

    IMO….Throw catfish in them lakes. You’ll never change MN Harvest Culture. As soon as you get the trophy pike lake everyone seeks…Back to the harvest board until we’re quickly down to runts. These are reasons i left MN Lakes. They are what they are and most likely will always be.

    Pike is my favorite to eat over walleye…But i like em BIG! grin

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7883
    #1943203

    I was determined to win the war of attrition and tell myself one of these snakes has to be a walleye at some point! And after 50 of them I had to throw this post out to see what everyone makes of it.

    LOL

    You can change rules, but rules don’t change culture.
    Culture in MN is to not keep the small ones.
    Culture in MN is to keep big pike.

    If you want to make a change, do your part to change the culture. Cut up them little pike. Share it with friends and family. Show them how to do the same. Only then, when the masses start to harvest smaller pike will you see a difference.

    Ya I agree, regs only go so far. The culture has to change to make a significant dent in this and I haven’t seen a culture shift yet. I don’t think big pike are being harvested at the rate they once were (because there aren’t as many, and people are starting to release them instead, plus there is less winter spearing), but it could be a very long time before there is noticeable impacts.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 6974
    #1943205

    If you want to make a change, do your part to change the culture. Cut up them little pike. Share it with friends and family. Show them how to do the same.

    100% agreed, and that is likely why I am favorable toward eating little pike. Grew up on Platte Lake which was infested with hammer handle’s to the point it had it’s own regulations like we currently have but decades ago. And we ate little pike regularly, as it was that or sunnies as the only things we’d catch for the table. Not sure on the current status of the lake as we sold our place there, but it no longer has any special regs for Pike.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7883
    #1943206

    The bigger lakes (aka the walleye factories) don’t seem to have such a problem with this. One has to wonder if the special regulations they’ve had for a long time, plus the presence of muskies which prohibited winter spearing, helped keep the small pike population in check and helped preserve the bigger gators.

    patk
    Participant
    Nisswa, MN
    Posts: 1997
    #1943213

    FBRM nailed it, this is about culture. Pike are the Rodney Dangerfield of fish, no respect jester

    Many people hate pike, especially some people I’ve met who are die hard walleye guys. I can get them to admit that big pike are really fun but it’s all the snakes that they hate. However they revert back to a kill ’em all attitude.

    Bigger the fish, better the fish to keep. Albeit more my dad’s generation but still true. The tradition of keeping pike between 26″-36″, open water or spearing, never gets those alpha predators a chance to control the runts.

    I’ve posted on these type of threads that some day I would love to make a dedicated pike trip without crossing the Canadian border. Sadly, that will need a culture change first (see musky C&R and selective walleye harvest cultures) to come first then 10-20 years to grown the needed balance of big girls. Not sure it will happen in my lifetime.

    All that said, I’m in favor of the new regs. Any help is good help

    Cody Meyers
    Participant
    Posts: 322
    #1943215

    This is a topic that I’ve wondered about as well. I’ve been working on keeping our legal limit of hammer handles from the lake that I fish regularly. I save them til I have a batch to pickle (our legal limit) and then do that. If I know somebody is looking for a fish fry then I’ll take the time to clean them up for that and share them. I’m doubtful that one person doing this in a lake is enough to make a difference, but I guess I’m hopeful that others are doing the same.

    It really isn’t that bad cleaning them, I think it’s just easy to be spoiled cleaning an 18″ walleye.

    Cody Meyers
    Participant
    Posts: 322
    #1943216

    Oh, and we have a cabin rented with my folks on the Whitefish chain this summer. Glad to hear there is something we can count on for a fish fry!

    fishthumper
    Participant
    Sartell, MN.
    Posts: 6852
    #1943222

    Pike are really tasty ( Small ones even more so ) on these small pike a quick easy cleaning method ( A little meat is wasted but not much ) is simply take the black strap and fillet the tail end on both sides. We often cube the back straps and keep them till enough to do a batch of pickled fish or boil them in 7up and dip in butter ( Poor mans lobster ) we deep fry the tail fillets. most of my guest would prefer Pike tail fillets over any other fish. 3 quick cuts and all completely boneless.

    fishthumper
    Participant
    Sartell, MN.
    Posts: 6852
    #1943225

    To answer the original ? – I believe if more people did harvest lots of the smaller pike it would help improve the overall size of pike in most lakes. The improvement in genetics and the increase in food supply should have a positive effect at some point.

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 4145
    #1943228

    We’ve seen “earn-a-buck” in the areas of Wisconsin I hunt along the river. Perhaps you need “earn-a-walleye” with harvesting at least 3 pike under 30″ to make a difference.

    In all seriousness, a surplus of small pike does far more damage than most people will ever comprehend. It’s unbelievable what they can eat. It seems that the best walleye and perch lakes have fewer dinky pike, and either a muskie population or some large gators. The issue doesn’t seem as prominent on the river in areas I fish, but when we visit relatives with cabins in Northern WI and Central MN…the issue is very common.

    danl
    Participant
    Posts: 24
    #1943260

    I believe if more people would take the pike under 22″ it would help. I don’t think that is what the DNR is planning on happening. The limit of 10 was set because those pike under 22″ are available and some will utilize that resource. Every pike under the slot taken helps. What the DNR says will happen is that when these pike get to that upper end of the slot and above that they will take care of the small pike.

    Mos’
    Participant
    Posts: 81
    #1943270

    Cody don’t worry you will have as much pike for a fry.. on the chain it’s harder to find a technique/depth that doesn’t catch them than does!

    Appreciate the feedback and insights though. I agree on the walleye factories and lakes with muskies seem to have less of the snake problem hoping we can make that more common!

    I’ll do my part to change the culture on the lakes i fish the most and hopefully in 20 years we can have a different version of this convo!

    walleyevision
    Participant
    Posts: 357
    #1943337

    I’d love to see the DNR pike plan work on the chain, I just don’t see it happening. Not enough folks want to deal with cleaning pike, although I agree, if cleaned using the 3-cut or 5-cut, they are fantastic. The biggest problem with the chain is that the big pike will continue to be taken out each and every winter via spearing.

    To me, I think a great solution to the chain’s pike problem would be to stock muskies, but that will NEVER happen.

    patk
    Participant
    Nisswa, MN
    Posts: 1997
    #1943472

    Might be helping. Wife caught this Saturday on Full.

    Attachments:
    1. IMG_20200516_130657.jpg

    patk
    Participant
    Nisswa, MN
    Posts: 1997
    #1943474

    Might be helping. Wife caught this Saturday on Gull.

    Attachments:
    1. IMG_20200516_130657-1.jpg

    Mos’
    Participant
    Posts: 81
    #1943604

    During the Lions Club tourney there always seems to be a couple big pike brought in, how many a guy had to sort through to get it though who knows! I didn’t think that for its size that Whitefish got speared as hard so I was hoping if the snakes were thinned some over the summer the big ones didn’t get hit as hard through the ice but I primarily ice fish the west end of the lake.

    I gotta imagine if everyone kept there 10 for 1 or 2 seasons you’d see a difference! That’s a lot of pike ha

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7883
    #1943637

    I gotta imagine if everyone kept there 10 for 1 or 2 seasons you’d see a difference!

    Probably, but like Steve stated earlier in this thread, how much pickled pike can a guy eat? I mean at some point you’d just get sick of cleaning and eating it at 10/day.

    patk
    Participant
    Nisswa, MN
    Posts: 1997
    #1943676

    patk wrote:
    Might be helping. Wife caught this Saturday on Gull.

    Is it still swimming?

    C.P.R. wave

    So far every walleye in Gull has stayed safe too, very very safe from me.

    walleyevision
    Participant
    Posts: 357
    #1943682

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>walleyevision wrote:</div>
    patk wrote:
    Might be helping. Wife caught this Saturday on Gull.

    Is it still swimming?

    C.P.R. wave

    LOL, those wiley walleyes

    So far every walleye in Gull has stayed safe too, very very safe from me.

    Huntindave
    Participant
    Shell Rock Iowa
    Posts: 2549
    #1960645

    One thing I heard is that it’s not a bad idea to keep a side cutters in the boat and then clip all the gills on one side before releasing those little pike bike. They’ll swim off in a corkscrew like path and the eagles, ospreys, big pike or muskies, etc., will thank you for it. They don’t go to waste and since you’re not in possession of them you’ll have nothing to worry about.

    You may not consider it a “waste” but the DNR does. The activity you “heard of” is specifically addressed on page 37 in the regulations.

    Attachments:
    1. pike.jpg

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7883
    #1960662

    One thing I heard is that it’s not a bad idea to keep a side cutters in the boat and then clip all the gills on one side before releasing those little pike bike. They’ll swim off in a corkscrew like path and the eagles, ospreys, big pike or muskies, etc., will thank you for it. They don’t go to waste and since you’re not in possession of them you’ll have nothing to worry about.

    I’d feel guilty about throwing back any pike under 22.” Once you realize how devastating they are to a lake you will too. Nothing ruins a lake more than having it unbalanced with little pike being prevalent.

    100% illegal and no doubt unethical too. We don’t need people clipping the breathing mechanism of fish and then releasing them so they suffer and die slowly. Either harvest them or release them. If you don’t want to clean and eat them, then you must release them. I agree they are detrimental and over abundant, but promoting the activity you mentioned will get you into deep sh** quickly. I don’t like raccoons but that doesn’t mean I’m going to live trap them and then cut their lungs so they slowly bleed out.

    This small pike problem isn’t going to get fixed over night. It will take years and years. We caused it, now we have to fix it.

    KPE
    Participant
    River Falls, WI
    Posts: 940
    #1960704

    I am one of those who will keep all of the little snakes that I legally can. I pickle them and give away pickled meat to the people I know that enjoy it. A few friends of mine give me their pike and I give it back in pickled form.

    Even still, I never seem to get to 10. Best I ever did was 8 in a day on the river.

    Also, you get a lot of meat from a snake northern. Grilling them is great, if you de-bone them properly they are awesome fried. Pike is my favorite fish in the lake, mostly because so many others seem to hate them. Guess I’m just contrarian.

    Learn how to harvest and utilize the meat, then you can all do your part to fix the problem too )

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7883
    #1960712

    Learn how to harvest and utilize the meat, then you can all do your part to fix the problem too

    Yes, well played Kyle

    Dan
    Participant
    Southeast MN
    Posts: 2556
    #1960713

    I am one of those who will keep all of the little snakes that I legally can. I pickle them and give away pickled meat to the people I know that enjoy it. A few friends of mine give me their pike and I give it back in pickled form.
    Even still, I never seem to get to 10. Best I ever did was 8 in a day on the river.

    Also, you get a lot of meat from a snake northern. Grilling them is great, if you de-bone them properly they are awesome fried. Pike is my favorite fish in the lake, mostly because so many others seem to hate them. Guess I’m just contrarian.

    Learn how to harvest and utilize the meat, then you can all do your part to fix the problem too

    I’m in agreement with a lot of this post. Almost every damn year I’ll fillet a pretty small northern by most people’s standards because it was gut-hooked or something, and I always look to whoever I’m with (with, friends, family, etc.) and comment about how I’m always amazed at how much meat you can get off a small pike. I’m talking even 15, 16 inches. It just takes time and care but I don’t mind it.

    IDO seems to have a certain pike community and I love to read threads where some of the “pike regulars” comment because I too would consider myself primarily a pike angler. It just takes lots of practice and focus and, at least for me, a refresher every year. Each spring I fillet my smallest one first so I don’t screw up a real good slab of meat just to get a little warmup on those y-bones again.

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