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Special regulations trump new pike zone rules

One question that may arise from anglers reading the northern pike zone regulations in effect when the season opens May 12: What about special regulations that apply to individual waters?

The answer is simple: special regulations take precedence over statewide regulations, including the pike zone regulations. If the possession limit on a special regulation lake, river or stream is different than the zone limit, the special regulation limit applies.

"We still have special regulations in our fish management tackle box, so to speak, and we want to make sure anglers continue to check for them wherever they're dropping a line," said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Special regulations are designed to meet specific management objectives for individual waters based on lake-specific fish population characteristics.

There are more than 90 waters in the state with special regulations on northern pike, all listed in the special regulations section of the 2018 Minnesota Fishing Regulations. For lakes, they can also be found using the DNR's Lake Finder tool at mndnr.gov/fishmn.

In contrast, the northern pike regulations for inland waters announced recently have three distinct zones to address the different characteristics of pike populations in Minnesota.

While many special regulations remain in place, for some waters the pike zone regulations allow several previously existing special regulations to go away, mainly when they aim for similar outcomes as the zone regulations.

The pike zone regulations apply only to inland waters and are broken into three zones - north central, northeast and south. In the north central zone, which includes Douglas County, anglers will be able to keep 10 northern pike, but not more than two pike longer than 26 inches; and all from 22 to 26 inches must be released. The new rules were put in place for this zone to address an overpopulation of small pike on many of the lakes in this region.

For more information visit mndnr.gov/pike or contact a local area fisheries office.

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