Post-ice fishing check in on the Pike Improvement Project

It’s March, which means the pike get a 2 month break from being targeted by anglers. The Pike Improvement Project kicked off in early January, and almost all the tickets submitted by anglers so far have been collected. Meaning it’s a good time to look back on the winter and provide a check-in on our progress.

Basic stats
646 harvested pike have been recorded (6.46% towards goal)
87% were entered in January, 13% in February (and 2 fish harvested in December)
Average length of harvested fish was 20.7 inches, smallest was 9 inches, biggest was 35.25 inches

Host stats
Pat’s Landing leads the way with 425 entries, followed by DNR Friends and Family (94 fish, these are not entered into the raffle), Deerfoot (72), Chippewa Pines (41), Musky Tail (24), Chuck Roehl Guide Service (4), and R+R Bayview (2)
Pat’s Landing also had the lowest average length harvested at 20.3 inches. The emphasis will be on getting the LOWEST average size, not the highest. Next lowest was Deerfoot (20.9).

Angler stats
118 anglers have participated so far, representing 67 different cities in 7 states (WI, IA, MN, IL, OR, CA, and TX)
Wisconsin has the most ticket entries, by far, but it could be an interesting competition for second between IL, MN, and IA

Most harvested fish (individual competition)
At this point in time there are 8 anglers who have registered 10 or more pike.

Thoughts from Max Wolter (DNR)
This effort is off to an ok start. Fishing conditions were definitely hurt by the weather in late January and most of February, with few people getting out. I had hoped we’d see 1,000 pike harvested by the end of ice season. But with poor condition and some of the tournaments being canceled it’s not surprising we didn’t meet that mark. There is still plenty of time left to harvest pike open water. The sizes of harvested fish look pretty good. I think this format has encouraged people to keep those 15-20 inch pike that they would not have considered in the past. Those are the ones that we’d really like to see harvested, so that’s great. The tournaments with a prize for smallest stringer seem to be particularly effective (Pat’s Landing and Deerfoot events). I would recommend continuing that for other events. Sharpen those hooks for fishing opener, less than two months away! If you can believe it!

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