Northern Pike...should they be released back into lake? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Northern Pike...should they be released back into lake?

I have fished a large bass lake since 1984 and we caught lots of bass then but now ---we have not caught as many as they decreased....greatly.......we hooked 2 pike the other day.....they were not landed but had on the line ...one an enormous pike as I thought was a carp I guess was 40+inches ... and the other was only 3' not landed but had close

should we dispatch of pike and try to eliminate them?

Do you gaff a pike or grab on back of neck or gills?

Last edited by Pa Teeny; 05-20-2019 at 01:58 PM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 08:02 AM
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Pike are a good eating fish. If they're legal size - and in that 24 - 30" range - I generally keep them. Once you learn how to deal with the Y bones they're not that much harder to clean than any other fish IMO. Just an extra step.

I generally will net pike instead of grabbing them behind the head. If the pike you had were as large as you describe - I wouldn't try grabbing them that's for sure. I guess a gaff would work, but I generally like to release the really large ones. But to your question - I don't think you could eliminate them out of a lake if you tried. There's lots of lakes with both a healthy bass and pike population. They're a lot of fun to fish for in their own right.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 08:21 AM
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You should treat them like any other "approved" fish species and throw them back if you do not wish to eat them. Asian carp, snake heads are to be killed per the PGC. In fact, there are signs along the Delaware river explaining that snakeheads should be killed and not released back into the water.

You do however, have every right to take them and do whatever you wish as long as you meet size and creel criteria. If killing them when you catch them helps in your opinion, go for it. Your choice.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 11:50 AM
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Pike are a great sport fish!!

I fish Canada a lot and I usually target pike if they are in the water I'm fishing. What other fresh water sport fish besides musky grow to 40 plus inches? Years ago they did not get the respect they deserved especially in walleye fisheries. Today they do in most cases and some camps specialize in trophy pike and some pike are true trophies.

If the pike are small I use a net. If they are bigger than about 36 to 40 inches I land them by hand. Slide your hand under their belly and the slide one finger up into their gills. Hold on tight and lift them out of the water. I've landed some monsters by hand. Just take your time and be careful.

As has been said pike are great eating. I usually try to catch one about 10 to 12 pounds to eat. That size is not a trophy by Canadian standards but still big enough to filet and cut out the Y bones without much difficulty. They taste great. Just as good as walleye in my opinion.

BTW that PA 40 incher you almost caught was a trophy!!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pa Teeny View Post
one an enormous pike as I thought was a carp I guess was 40+inches ... and the other was only 3' not landed but had close
Just wondering. Could those fish have been musky?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 12:29 PM
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Dogface, I thought the same thing as northerns that size are rare in Pa.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 12:50 PM
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A gaff can be used for catch and release just don't harpoon it in the side. Ease into gill and remove slowly trying not to rip gills. Hook into lower jaw and again ease it out is not much worse for ware as a large treble hook. BTW it helps to cover the eyes when removing hook. Watch your fingers. Waugh!


40 inch pike are special around these parts. More common in musky.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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ok tried to post picture....but not tech savvy...

I thought musky as the side of it was 12"+ from top top bottom.....as I said I thought it was a carp at first.....the head is flat....but not a catfish....

Thanks
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pa Teeny View Post

I thought musky as the side of it was 12"+ from top top bottom....Thanks
Twelve inches! That was a big fish!!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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yes my son was sad....but that is fishing....next time we will use steel leaders
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