News from the DNR

New northern pike fishing regulations coming for fishing opener

New regulations for catching and keeping northern pike will be the most significant change anglers will see when they open up the 2018 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Booklet being distributed throughout the state.

“Anyone who wants to keep pike in Minnesota’s inland waters needs to take a close look at these regulations and be prepared to measure the pike they want to keep starting on the Saturday, May 12, fishing opener,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The new fishing regulations have three distinct zones to address the different characteristics of pike populations in Minnesota. While not designed to manage for trophy pike, the new regulations are meant to restore pike populations for better harvest opportunities across the state for sizes that make good table fare, up to around 28 inches or so.

“It’s almost go-time and we’re happy to be at this point after years of discussion on these issues with pike,” Stevens said. “This has been a long-running topic of conversation and is becoming reality in the 2018 fishing season.”

The move toward new regulations was a response to anglers’ concerns about the over-abundance of hammer-handle pike in much of central to north-central Minnesota; the low numbers of pike present in southern waters; and a desire to protect large pike in the northeastern part of the state.

The new pike harvest regulations apply to inland waters of the state.

North-central: Limit of 10 northern pike, but not more than two pike longer than 26 inches; all from 22 to 26 inches must be released.

Northeast: Two pike; anglers must release all from 30 to 40 inches, with only one over 40 inches allowed in possession.

South: Two fish; minimum size 24 inches.

Darkhouse spearing regulations for pike change slightly and those regulations are listed in the spearing section of the regulations booklet.

Meanwhile, the new pike regulations do not affect border waters fishing regulations and special regulations that cover individual lakes, rivers and streams.

For more information on the new zone regulations visit mndnr.gov/pike or contact a local area fisheries office. Contact information can be found in the fishing regulations booklet, available online at mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.

From tree to breakfast table: maple syrup making at Minnesota state parks

When we think of a food source in Minnesota, we often consider grain fields, gardens, poultry farms, orchards, and cows. How often do we think of a maple tree? State parks are home to thousands of maple trees from which pure maple syrup is made. Attend a free program at a state park and learn about tapping maple trees while using tools found in the kitchen.

More maple syrup programs will take place at several Minnesota state parks throughout March and early April. For the complete schedule, and more information about how to tap trees and make maple syrup, visit www.mndnr.gov/maplesyrup.

At some parks, stop in any time for a syrup-making demonstration; others offer hands-on instruction with a taste of the finished product. Participants learn how to identify and tap the right kind of tree as well as how to boil the sap collected until it is ready to serve. It usually takes 30 to 40 gallons of tree sap to get a gallon of pure maple syrup. Usually, the best time to collect sap has been between mid-March and mid-April, when temperatures are in the high 30s to mid-40s during the day and below freezing at night.

The maple syrup programs at Minnesota state parks are free, but vehicle permits are required to enter the parks ($7 for a one-day permit or $35 for a year-round permit). Due to space limitations, some programs also require advance registration. Occasionally, due to extreme weather or other conditions, an event may need to be canceled or changed. When in doubt, call the park.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center by emailing info.dnr@state.mn.us or by calling 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).