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.