DNR Wants to Create More Opportunities to Catch Muskie and Pike

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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials are creating a management plan designed to increase angler opportunities to land trophy-sized muskellunge and northern pike.

“Demand is growing but our supply is limited,” said Jason Moeckel, DNR Fisheries Operations Manager. “The purpose of this plan is to guide fisheries management so we can meet that demand.”

A recent survey indicates that 14 percent of resident, licensed anglers target muskellunge when fishing and 60 percent of people who have not fished for muskellunge expressed interest in doing so.

Building on the foundation of management plans implemented in 1986 and 1994, this plan takes into consideration growing angler interest in landing large muskellunge and northern pike, Moeckel said

Some of the recommendations in the draft plan include:

  • Adding eight new muskellunge lakes by 2020 to the existing 93 lakes that now offer the pure-strain species;
  • Managing muskellunge populations for trophy angling opportunities through stocking, size regulations, season closures, existing spearing bans and promoting voluntary catch and release; and
  • Improving opportunities to catch large northern pike on select waters as well as improving northern pike fishing statewide while maintaining spearing opportunities for northern pike.

Moeckel said the plan was developed with input from angling interests, including six workshops, two roundtables and public comment through the DNR web site.

The draft plan is available for review at www.mndnr.gov/fishing.