Max Wolter, DNR fisheries – A look at Northern Pike
Wisconsin DNR researcher Dan Oele and his colleagues recently published a paper examining how northern pike populations respond to length limits. The researchers looked at lakes with 26-inch minimum and two-bag daily limits and 32-inch minimum and one-bag daily limits, and compared them with pike populations in lakes with no minimum length and five-bag daily limits. Study results indicated that more restrictive limits did improve pike size compared to lakes with very liberal limits, but lake characteristics also determined a lot about the size structure of pike populations. Size structure was better on lakes with higher angler pressure, less clear water and lower pike density. Creel data showed anglers are catching pike at a higher rate than in the past, but harvesting fewer pike. The researchers believe anglers are more selective than in the past and less willing to harvest smaller pike.