New Catch and Release Pike Record on the Rainy River
Ok Lake of the Woods anglers, you have something to shoot for this winter. Northern Pike were added the the MN DNR catch and release record program earlier this year. This program gives anglers who catch a true monster fish the opportunity to get recognized without keeping the fish.
This week, it was announced that an angler fishing on the Rainy River caught the current catch and release state northern pike record.
Matthew Swanson of Woodbury has claimed the record with a 45 1/4 inch northern pike caught on the Rainy River.
The record surpasses the first ever record set in early October when Maddy Ogg caught and released a 43 1/2 inch pike from Mille Lacs; however, Swanson reeled in his pike five months earlier, in May. The Department of Natural Resources received Swanson’s application on Oct. 29 and certified the fish soon after.
Swanson was on an annual Rainy River pike fishing trip with his dad and brother. Swanson reported that after three days of fishing, he had not landed any large pike, but his dad and brother had caught several over 30 inches. His father fishes spring pike with streamer flies on 30-pound test wire line. Using his dad’s setup, Swanson took a few casts and the water around his fly exploded – he had hooked a big pike.
After a brief fight and some careful netting, Swanson had caught the 45 1/4 inch northern pike. They handled the large pike carefully to get a couple pictures and a length measurement before releasing the fish.
“Because this was to date my first and only pike on a fly, it was a very memorable experience,” Swanson said.
Cool spring and fall temperatures make for excellent catch-and-release conditions.
Pike season on Lake of the Woods is open all year long. Ice fishing for huge pike will soon be happening with big results. As the ice starts to move out, bays come into play. Back bays of the Rainy River, 4 Mile Bay, Bostic Creek, Zippel Bay and shoreline areas with ditches along Muskeg Bay near the Rocky Point areas can be big pike magnets.
The current sturgeon catch and release record program and not to anyone’s surprise, is from the Rainy River. The specs on these record fish (pictured below) are 73″ long x 30 inches around. Jack Burke is the record holding angler.
It is good to know what measurements and images are needed to properly register your potential state record fish. You are going to need a witness, measuring tape and camera. After that, a simply entry form filled out and signed and you are on your way.
Catch and release state records are also kept for muskies and flathead catfish. Lake of the Woods has a legitimate shot at 3/4 records. No flatheads here that we know of!