Minnesota’s pikeperch and pike seasons open in May, and be sure to have a fishing regulations brochure with you.
This is because the limit values for pike in inland waters have changed significantly.
The national long-term limit of three is gone. Instead, there is a new three-zone approach. Zone management means that the size and number of fish you can keep depends on your location. This regulatory change has the potential to offer you and other anglers many more fish meals.
Because in the huge north-central zone, for example, the new limit has more than tripled to 10. With the new scheme, you can keep two pikes longer than 26 inches and up to 10 pikes smaller than 22 inches. It does so as part of a long-term effort to improve the size quality of pike in this part of the state. In southern Minnesota, a new ordinance aims to increase the numbers of lower pike, and in northeast Minnesota, a new ordinance will protect existing large fish. In the northeast, large pike are most common.
In practice, the new pike regulation means that the majority of states now have a pike limit of 10. The 10 fish zone is huge. It includes around 1,673 lakes in the north-central zone from the Twin Cities to the north, including popular fishing destinations such as the Aitkin, Bemidji, Brainerd, Park Rapids, and Walker areas. The only part of central and northern Minnesota that does not belong to the 10 Fish Zone is the so-called Arrowhead Region in the northeast, which is east of US Highway 53. The new zone regulations do not apply to waters with special pike regulations or to Canada, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas.
You can find the map of the pike zone online. See the 2018 Fishing Regulations for details on length and ownership limits. The spear regulations for pike differ slightly from the angling regulations. So be sure to check these out when using spears.
As for pikeperch, not much is new this year. A persistent winter has delayed traditional ice leakage dates significantly, meaning that early season anglers are likely to fish shallower than normal, or perhaps present bait a little slower than normal. The state’s large pikeperch lakes should be well fished again. Great lakes known for their pikeperch include Lake of the Woods, Upper Red Lake, Vermillion, Leech, and Winnibigoshish.
Find out more about how to get your MN fishing license before your next trip.
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CB Bylander is a longtime Minnesota angler with extensive angling experience throughout the state. He is a former field editor for outdoor magazines, outdoor editor for daily newspapers, and fisheries communications specialist for the Department of Natural Resources.