Time was years — and years — ago that giant northern pike were relatively common in many Minnesota lakes.
Not so any more.
Yes, Upper Red still has some big boys (and girls), as do Rainy, Lake of the Woods and a handful of other state waters.
Including, apparently, Mille Lacs.
Pictured here is Travis Hultgren of Bayport, a pro-staffer with Blue Ribbon Bait in Oakdale, with a 43-inch northern boated June 29.
Estimated at 25 pounds, the fish was released safely.
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The Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday morning it is reversing its earlier decision to ban live bait for most Mille Lacs anglers beginning with the May 14 opener.
DNR says lake's walleye population is healthy.
Anglers targeting walleye must use only artificial bait and immediately release all walleye caught. The DNR's rules are intended to conserve walleyes, while providing some action for anglers.
The DNR is concerned about the potential impacts of invasive carp in the Minnesota River watershed and has several projects in the works.
Smith, 44, will oversee a $38 million annual budget and a staff of 250, including more than 200 conservation officers.