North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel, along with staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish hatcheries, recently stocked 2.3 million pike fingerlings in 69 lakes and rivers across the state.
Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader for the Game and Fish Department, said this year’s goal was to stock 2 million fingerlings, not as many as in recent years due to the incredible success pike have had the last several years.
“These were some of the largest pike fingerlings we have ever shipped, given they were only 30 days old,” Weigel said. “Stocking conditions were great, with lots of cool water and their favorite food with the large midge hatch that was present all spring.”
In addition to these stocking efforts, Weigel said there is good potential for natural reproduction of pike in many of the shallow lakes across the state.
The daily limit of northern pike has increased from three to five in most of North Dakota’s water bodies. The increase is due to the record number of pike fishing lakes in the state, Weigel said, and many with record pike populations.
“Wet conditions during the last 10-15 years, and an aggressive stocking program, is the main reason for the many pike fishing opportunities in the state,” Weigel added. “We encourage anglers to give pike fishing a try before waters warm and fishing slows.”