When the Minnesota opener finally arrives on May 15, not many anglers will be out specifically to catch northern pike. However, they're out there and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants everyone to be aware of northern pike regulations across the state.

“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.”

According to the DNR, Minnesota has three northern pike zones that apply to inland waters and reflect the differing characteristics of pike population across the state:

  • North-central: Limit of 10 northern pike, but not more than two pike longer than 26 inches; all fish 22 to 26 inches must be released.
  • Northeast: Two northern pike; anglers must release all fish 30 to 40 inches, with only one fish over 40 inches allowed in possession.
  • South: Two northern pike; minimum size 24 inches.
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The DNR reminds anglers that special regulations that cover individual lakes, rivers and streams remain in effect throughout the state and they take precedence over the zone regulations. The northern pike zone regulations do not apply to border waters. You click here to access the DNR's northern pike page, which includes a zone map.

If you do catch northern pike, don't be quick to throw it back even though it may not be the fish you were out to catch. While it's true they take a little extra time to filet, they are a good fish to eat. Here's a handy video that shows a great way to filet northern pike and get 5 boneless filets.

10 Mishaps That Happen On A MN Fishing Opener

The Minnesota Fishing Opener is basically a state holiday. As we head out on the lakes for those elusive walleye and aggressive Northern Pike, let's take a moment to laugh about some of the common mishaps that we've all experienced on that first day on the water.

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