Humans aren’t the only species in northern climes who gain weight in fall while bulking up for winter. Fish also often belly up to the table — or bait, as it were — hoping to sustain themselves during long months beneath a foot or two of ice.

Maddy Ogg, 28, of Sartell, happily set the table recently for a 43½-inch northern pike while fishing on Mille Lacs, in the process reeling in the state catch-and-release record for that species — the first such high-water mark since the Department of Natural Resources established a release record book for northerns and certain other species.

Ogg, a member of Women Anglers of Minnesota, caught the toothy northern in 12 feet of water on Oct. 6, a cold, windy day she spent on the lake with pals Mike Buckingham and Jenni Buckingham.

Oakdale muskie guide Josh Stevenson also can attest that big fish like to eat in autumn. On Tuesday, Stevenson — the current holder of the state tiger muskie record — caught his biggest (non-tiger) metro muskie ever, a 54-incher.

“Muskie fishing has been outstanding,’’ Stevenson said.

Dennis Anderson