A 43 1/2 inch pike caught by a member of the Women Anglers of Minnesota on Mille Lacs Lake sets the first northern pike state record in the Department of Natural Resources’ catch-and-release category.
Angler Maddy Ogg caught and released the huge pike Oct. 6 during what she described as a cold and windy day of fishing. She and companions Mike Buckingham and Jenni Buckingham got an early start that morning, soon landing two fish at the same time.
“On the way to the lake that morning, we saw eight bald eagles and shortly after we started fishing, we landed a double – I knew it was going to be a good day of fishing,” Ogg said.
Five hours later, while trolling the edges of plants in 12 feet of water, Maddy had a strike that bent her rod hard. Even though most record-fish stories include a long dramatic battle between fish and angler, fortune was going their way.
“I had to reel fast because the fish swam towards the boat, causing nearly constant slack in the line,” Ogg said.
She landed the pike and now claims the first Minnesota catch-and-release state record for the species. While pike can often be lively once in a boat, in this case the cool temperatures and calm behavior of Maddy’s pike made for an outstanding catch-and-release scenario.
While the 43 1/2 inch pike may have set the record, it likely will not be the only trophy pike pulled from the big lake. Mille Lacs has a growing reputation as a trophy pike fishery, with some fish reaching the mid- to high -40 inch and range and exceeding 20 pounds.
There are two kinds of Minnesota state records: one for catching and keeping the biggest fish in each species based on certified weight; and the other for the length of a caught and released muskellunge, northern pike, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.
The DNR announces new state records in news releases, on social media and on the DNR website. Find current records and guidelines for each type of state record at mndnr.gov/recordfish.