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No course change likely in northern pike management

SPICER -- It's no secret that slot limits on the harvest of northern pike in designated lakes aren't very popular with spear fishermen and women.

But spear fishermen will likely have to continue living with them on most of the lakes where the special regulations currently exist, according to Jason Moeckel, fisheries operations supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Moeckel offered a preview of recent survey work by the Minnesota DNR on its northern pike management strategy. It found that most anglers and spear fishermen were generally satisfied with it. The survey work does not indicate a change of course is needed, he told members of the West Central chapter of the Minnesota Darkhouse Anglers Association in Spicer on Feb. 17.

"It does not say 'gosh you guys are way off. You need to change what you're doing,' " he said.

The slot limit usually prevents the harvest of fish 24-36 inches in length. The restriction makes it difficult for spearing since it can be difficult to judge the length of a fish underwater.

Moeckel said the DNR would continue to assess the effectiveness of the special regulations on the lakes where they exist, and will take into consideration that a larger share are located in the central part of the state.

He also noted that it can take 12-15 years to accurately measure the impact of regulations on a fishery.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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