Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Minnesota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Minnesota Project

Minnesota northern pike regulations

May 2015 - June 2016


Participating Agencies

  • Minnesota DNR

Northern pike (Esox lucius) is the most widely distributed and one of the most popular game fish in Minnesota, with more than one-third of resident anglers indicating that they specifically target pike. In 2010, the Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit conducted a survey for the Minnesota DNR of resident pike anglers and darkhouse spearers in the Minnesota in order to understand the regulatory and site experiences and preferences of pike anglers and spearers (Schroeder & Moeckel 2011). This information was important in developing long range plans for managing pike in Minnesota. Schroeder and Fulton (2014) used these data to compare the regulatory preferences of anglers and dark house spearers. The Minnesota DNR has a current need to update this information and collect additional stated preference choice information concerning size and bag limit regulations for northern pike in different regions of Minnesota. The purpose of this proposed study is to: 1. Characterize the preferred experiences, level of involvement, catch orientations, satisfaction, use histories, management and regulatory preferences, and sociodemographics of Minnesota resident pike anglers and darkhouse spearers; 2. Examine the fishing site choices and lake and regulatory attributes that influence the site choice decisions of pike anglers and spearers. 3. Compare the information in 1 & 2 above between darkhouse spearers and pike anglers across 3 geographical strata in Minnesota. The sample was selected from DNR electronic licensing files for purchasers of Minnesota fishing licenses. The sample was stratified based on fishing method (angling or spearing), geographic residence and on expressed geographic preference of pike anglers/spearers to target pike in Minnesota. A total of 6 strata ( n = 400 completed surveys in each stratum, total n = 2400 completed surveys) were targeted including anglers fishing in the 1) northern, 2) central and 3) southern regions of the state, and spearers fishing in the 1) northern, 2) central and 3) southern regions of the state. The stratified sample of spearers was drawn based on purchase of a darkhouse spearing license. This proposal will cover the cost of 4 strata. The angling sample was developed through a two stage sampling design. We first contacted a sample (n = 20000) of Minnesota anglers to identify those who fish for northern pike in Minnesota. We then targeted those who fish for pike in the second round of the study. Because approximately 30% of anglers target pike, and we anticipated ~30% response rate to the initial contact, an initial mailing of n = 20,000 allowed us to target about n = 1900 pike anglers in the final survey.