The news of the week is about the upcoming changes in the regulations for northern pike.
The regulations will stay the same for this winter season and all special regulations for specific lakes still apply. The changes will go into effect starting March 1. Of course, the season for pike closes on Feb. 25 and then will reopen on the May 12 “Opener.”
The DNR is taking a cue from hunting and setting up three zones with regulations for each zone. The majority of the state will be in the North Central Zone. That zone will allow anglers to keep 10 pike, but only 2 over 26 inches. All pike from 22-26 inches must be released.
Spearing the 2018-19 season will be the same, except you can only keep one over 26 and you will be allowed one between 22-26, and the rest must be under 22 inches.
The North East Zone will be two pike, but all pike between 30-40 inches must go back and only one over 40 inches in possession is allowed.
The South Zone will allow two pike, with both having to be over 24 inches. I am not sure if the current special regulation lakes for pike (on lakes Sallie, Melissa, Otter Tail, etc.,) will continue, or if this new zone regulation applies and replaces, not only the old regulations, but the special regulations.
Stay tuned, I am sure more is to come about that and the borders for the zones.
I know this is a departure and a shift in gear, but I feel the need to comment on the following. It has been a couple weeks since the young 28-year-old couple was lost to Red Lake while ice fishing. Tragic and sad. By now most of have heard about this story as there has been a lot of media and social media coverage about the situation that occurred.
Many opinions, judgements, and blame have been shared, especially in the social media formats. Some of this has been fueled by a grieving father blaming the resort for their death. I can’t imagine the sense of loss and pain he is experiencing, but I do know it is wrong to blame the resort for what occurred.
The resort informed all customers using the resort about ice risks and were given maps outlining safe and risky areas. There were 1,400 other ice anglers out on Red Lake that day that didn’t venture into risky areas. When we are on the ice, we are all responsible for the choices and decisions we make. Ice can be unpredictable, especially in the early season and when the weather has been inconsistent.
Bait shops, guides, resorts, DNR, and law enforcement all do the best we can to help people make their own informed decisions. Taking a dangerous risk, or a split second into a bad choice or decision can have terrible consequences—not just on the ice, but in life. Many lives have been changed forever by this loss. Be responsible for yourself, and to the other you are with, by making good decisions on the ice.