Northern Pike Regulation

What is this rule about?

This rulemaking will change the statewide bag limit and size restriction for northern pike when angling or darkhouse spearing on inland waters. Border waters will be unaffected. If you are not interested in this topic, you can disregard this rulemaking notice.

What will this rulemaking will do?

Currently Minnesota has a single regulation for taking northern pike on inland waters - a possession limit of three, of which only one may be over 30 inches – that applies to all waters not under special or experimental regulation. This rulemaking will partition Minnesota into three zones – northeast, north-central, and southern – and implement a specialized regulation in each zone designed to improve northern pike populations for anglers and darkhouse spearers. Special or experimental regulations will be unaffected by this rule change. This rule change will take effect by the 2017 season opener on May 13. The DNR is using an expedited rulemaking procedure to make these changes as soon as possible.

Who might be affected by these rule changes?

Recreational anglers and darkhouse spearers targeting northern pike on inland waters.

Where do I send my comments?

The DNR is accepting written comments until 4:30 p.m. on Monday, November 7, 2016. Send your comments to the DNR contact person listed below. Your comment must be in writing and received by the DNR contact person by the due date. Please review the entire Notice for more details.

You may also request a hearing on these rules

If at least 100 persons submit a valid request for a hearing and a sufficient number do not withdraw their requests (reducing the number below 100), then a public hearing will be held before an administrative law judge. The Notice of Intent to Adopt Expedited Rules tells you how to submit a request for hearing to the DNR contact person.

Where can I get more information?

Rulemaking documents:

Additionally, background information on the goals for managing northern pike, the three management zones, and objectives of each regulation for achieving the goals are posted at:

UPDATE AUGUST 2017: This rule was approved as to legality by Administrative Law Judge Jessica Palmer-Denig. The commissioner of natural resources adopted the rule on 8/10/2017 and the rule was filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on 8/16/2017. The adoption notice with the addition of a delayed effective date was published in the State Register on 8/28/2017.
The rule will be effective on March 1, 2018.

If you want a free copy of the final rule, call or email the DNR contact person listed below.

DNR contact person:
Al Stevens
Fish and Wildlife Division
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020
[email protected]