DNR: State record-tying northern pike caught on Mille Lacs

Authorities have confirmed that a state record-tying northern pike was caught earlier this year on Mille Lacs Lake.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says Brad Lila caught and released the pike on Jan. 22.

“I set the hook as the line was quickly peeling out,” Lila told the DNR. “Immediately, I knew it was a very large fish because it peeled out drag and there was no stopping it. After about 10 minutes of fighting the fish, I knew that it might take more than me to land it.”

Lila hollered and waved at two nearby anglers, who came to help him.

“Every time she would get near, a few inches of slush would come up and we couldn’t see down the hole,” Lila added. “An additional challenge was that my braided line would groove the bottom of the ice and when my knot connecting the fluorocarbon leader would meet the ice bottom, it would get stuck. I’d have to put my rod down into the hole to free up my line and then my line guides would freeze.”

It took about half an hour but, eventually, Lila got the fish through the ice and took a measurement: 46ΒΌ inches.

“It was so satisfying seeing her swim away,” Lila said. “I am so very appreciative of the state of Minnesota for supporting a catch and release (record fish) program. It’s great to know that she’s out there passing along those incredible genes and that someone else may have a chance of landing her someday.”

Other current records and guidelines can be found on the DNR’s website.