Proposed Pike Reg Changes

General musky fishing discussions and questions.

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pikerule2
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Proposed Pike Reg Changes

Post by pikerule2 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:27 pm

Saw the muskie reg thread where someone asked about the pike position. We're a muskie group that I agree wouldn't need to take a position on pike. But it'd be greatly appreciated if my Esox brothers and sisters replied to the survey in support of better pike management too.

My opinion is the no MSL with one over 24 and the proposed slot aren't suited to the statewide reg, too many waters at risk of not enough recruitment, especially in the lower half of the state. But those exceptions I hope can be used generously where appropriate, like on all the waters currently with no MSL, and likely broad usage further north, especially the UP. The 24 MSL with 2/day is still the best bet of the available options for statewide application. I wish more was being done for pike, but the potential advancement for muskie is tremendous, and still good to see any improvement we can get for pike. Thanks all.

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Mayhem
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Post by Mayhem » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:19 pm

I certainly agree that managing pike with a broad state wide regulation is difficult because of the vast differences in variables such as population density, size structure, and growth potential in each lake/system. For me personally I really like the idea of a no kill slot from 24-34". If this isn't the best option for state wide regs it would be great if it were applied to some populations like those found in say the great lakes and drowned river mouth lakes or some inland lakes that grow large thick bodied pike like gull lake for example. I hate seeing guys killing numbers of these larger fish and would prefer them to take smaller fish. Joe I realize the slot has little chance of passing and a large amount of anglers are against it but are there biological reasons you oppose the slot option? It seems like the best option for fisherman like myself that would choose to release more of the larger fish anyways and would like to see better size structure.

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Esoxonthefly
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Post by Esoxonthefly » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:01 pm

Done
"I once heard of a guy that caught a 70" muskie weighing 80 lbs...."

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vano397
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Post by vano397 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:12 am

I don't mind the slot limit too much. I have read articles on both sides saying it works and that it hasn't done anything at all. My only problem is getting people to actually keep small pike. For guys that eat them the smaller ones are too bony, and the huge ones are old and probably not that great... So in essence for most of the lakes/fisherman this is just an increase in minimum size to 34"
“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him all good things-trout as well as eternal salvation-come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”

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MattG_braith
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Post by MattG_braith » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:25 am

I like the idea of a slot limit but I think it should be more directed towards protecting the larger breeders. Personally I think the slot should be 28-38 or even up to 40. That would allow those from the catch and keep crowd who catch a true trophy pike over 40" the ability to keep it for mount but still protect the bigger fish in the 30s to grow and breed. It would also give more leeway for those fishing for table fare to keep fish in the low-mid 20 inch range. I know personally I keep many pike to eat but would never keep one over 30 inches as I want to see those bigger fish live. I prefer the fish in that 24-28 inch range to eat.

You also have to take into account the spearing group. As much as we would love to see spearing banned for muskie, the muskie spearers are going to fight it to the end. Most spearers actually target pike more often than muskie and limiting their ability to spear the pike they want is going to have even more opposition. As much as we all would like to dismiss their opinions, the DNR will always take their side as a "fishing community".
Matt

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Will Schultz
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Post by Will Schultz » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:38 am

Be sure to read the report and the proposed regulation options on page 7 of the pdf. You'll see there is a statewide regulation but also options that can be used on specific waters.
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Mayhem
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Post by Mayhem » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:54 am

The problem is that there are thousands of pike waters in the state and only a couple dozen at most will have special regulations that differ from the state wide regs. One suggestion/idea I made was to incorporate all 3 regulation proposals by classifying lakes/river into "Types" as they do for trout rivers/lakes. Type 1 waters would have one regulation, Type 2 another, and Type 3 another. Ideally this would allow the DNR to match the best of the 3 regulations to each water. This of course would be complicated and therefore will never happen and its dissapointing to me that the DNR has to keep the regs simple for the ignoramuses of the world at the expense of making the fishing better.

pikerule2
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Post by pikerule2 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:37 pm

As far as the biological concerns with the slot, the big drawback namely on smaller pressured waters with limited spawning is enough fish reaching the protection of the slot for it to matter. I agree not many bother with really small fish to eat, but even if they comply with the slot, lots or even nearly all of the eligible fish just before the slot, say 22-24 or even to 26 for that matter, given the usual 2 inch swing we see at a minimum, would be removed. This plus high rates of non-compliance in most areas they've been tried makes them a very high risk proposition, again mainly on those vulnerable waters as mentioned, which we have plenty of.

But I do hope they can help where they are appropriate, with good compliance on high reproduction waters they have shown promise. For anyone skeptical of high cropping rates on pike, at least on public waters with moderate to high pressure, I was in a pike tourney at Au Train lake in the U.P. where two fish out of over 400 reached 24", and these were chunky little buggers, that lake is full of forage. Last season two friends of mine fished a Houghton Lake event where they said 1 fish out of hundreds met the 24" minimum. So if we think people won't hammer 22-24" fish like crazy given the chance, I respectfully see it differently. Those fish will be history, it'll just be a matter of how small will they keep them. I'd guess they'll stop killing them at maybe 20 inches, but either way we won't be seeing many reach the low end of the slot, if less than 1% reach 24 inches as it is (on many popular lakes, anyway).

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MattG_braith
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Post by MattG_braith » Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:41 am

I agree with you that lakes with very high fishing pressure and poor reproduction need special regulations and maybe a slot limit is not the right way to manage them, but I dont think the lakes you mentioned fall into this category. When you have 400 pike caught in a single tournament with only 2 fish over 24 inches, it sounds like the pike in that lake are reproducing very successfully and the population is stunted because of it. A lake like this is almost perfect for a slot limit in my mind. Removing alot of those smaller fish will be a great benefit to the population as a whole by reducing competition for forage. In a situation like this, harvesting many of these smaller fish is a good thing.

Houghton is a different situation in that it gets so much fishing pressure year round, especially in the winter with tip-ups. I still think a slot limit on Houghton would be a good thing though as it would discourage the harvest of your big breeding sized pike. I dont think you will ever have to worry about "nearly all" of the eligible fish being harvested before the slot. Your biggest issue here, as you said, is non compliance. There just is no way to police a slot limit effectively and the majority of people out there are either unintelligent, ignorant to the regulations, or just dont care. I think a good place to start with a lake like Houghton is lower the number of tip-ups allowed per person.
Matt

pikerule2
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Post by pikerule2 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:42 pm

Au Train really has good growth, above state norms I'm pretty sure, lots of forage as mentioned, but literally almost all fish are killed when they approach 24". So a slot is effectively no limit at all, almost all fish are gone before they reach the mid-20 inch range with that much slaughter.

No direct experience on Houghton but with almost no fish reaching 24" as it is, not sure how any would reach the slot. But agreed, pike are really tough to manage and let's hope a slot can work where it's suited to, waters with plenty of reproduction but not such high exploitation that almost no fish reach the slot. A 20-30 inch slot might effectively be a 30 inch minimum since not many would bother keeping pike less than 20 inches, and eventually enough better sized pike would control small pike as nature intended. One European experimental lake showed this, no slot but total catch and release converted a stunted pike factory into a quality pike factory once it allowed for big fish that ate enough of the little guys.

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vano397
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Post by vano397 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:06 pm

With Pike being able to almost proliferate like they do in certain lakes yet struggle in others it really should be somewhat micromanaged to be done properly. That being said I kind of only considered two points when taking the survey. knowing that micromanagement is never going to happen, you have to think about whats best for the most vulnerable lakes, and hope they affect the overpopulated lakes too
1) The 2 fish minimum is the key to the slot. From experience on the lakes I fish, I almost never see people fishing and keeping pike in the summer, a large majority of harvest (as with muskies) is in the winter, and that seems to be a pretty darned good time of year to catch a LOT of pike. This will (or at least should, because of point 2) take some of the pressure off.
2) A common concern with the slot is enforcement. But pretty much the people breaking the slot rule are the same keeping/killing more than 5 a day now, 2 a day under new regs, under sized, slot fish... you get the picture. I would hate to have to pass on a potentially good management opportunity because we are worried about poachers... There is just as a strong of a case to be made that this is the reason the current regs don't work!!! Thankfully with Pike, they get respectable sized and mature faster than Muskies so any change for the positive will happen much more quickly and we should see a difference in the first 3-5 years.
“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him all good things-trout as well as eternal salvation-come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”

Duke
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Post by Duke » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:11 pm

I just gotta say what a pleasure it is to have the IQ level represented in this group. Great discussion, and all good food for thought. Suffice it to say, you don't get stuff like this from the weirdeye guys for instance. Thanks for always making this forum interesting for me!

biiigfish32
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pike

Post by biiigfish32 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:13 pm

Im doing a research paper on Implementing slot limits for northern pike right now.
Corey P (biiigfish32)

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MattG_braith
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Post by MattG_braith » Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:58 pm

Feel free to share what you find. I am always looking for a good read on the fish I love.
Matt

biiigfish32
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pike

Post by biiigfish32 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:53 pm

It should be about done in a week or so. I'll try to post it. It's a whole lot of what you guys already know but I try to present it to the once a month type fishermen. I talked with a licencing clerk from the Ontario minesry of fishery division and he told me that on average 500,000 fishing licences are to non-residents each year. It would be great if Michigan could get some numbers like that for pike and muskie fishing.
Corey P (biiigfish32)

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