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Ice fishing for Northern Pike

10/20/20 @ 10:36 PM
User since 12/26/18

As the weather gets cold, I've been looking forward to ice fishing, and one of my favorite ways to eat fish - pickled pike

The only problem is that I live in Madison, and catching small pike for pickling is limited by the Wisconsin "southern zone" rules (Only two northern pike may be kept and they must be at least 26"), and the rules on my home lake - Mendota - are even more restrictive (one pike over 40" may be kept). 

The "northern zone" rules make catching and keeping small-medium pike for pickling much more realistic (Five northern pike of any length may be kept). 

So my question is, are there any lakes in Southern WI with good enough pike fishing that would be worth my time to try to get some legal pike, or would I be better off driving north? 

If I do go north, the lakes in the Northern Zone (North of highway 10) that would be the shortest drive from Madison are Lake Dubay, Big Eau Pleine Reservoir, Mosinee Flowage, or Lake Wausau. Are any of these worth the drive for some pike fishing through the ice? 


10/21/20 @ 4:08 PM
User since 8/25/08

It's a hike but if you made a long weekend out of it lac vieux desert has a TON of pike. If I recall the big eau pleine has the one over 32 regs and low density.

10/21/20 @ 11:23 AM
User since 9/21/08

Mirror lake just removed the size limit last year. Pretty sure you can only keep 2 but that wouldnt be to bad of a drive

10/21/20 @ 9:30 AM
Phat Walleyes
Phat Walleyes
User since 3/31/15

I'd also go when pike are more plentiful, like right after the spawn... 

I never tried pickled pike, but I love herring, especially creamed...

I read about pickled pike and they say the smaller ones the bones just dissolve... 

I know they have a lot of bones and deep fried pike fillets are my favorite!

I've been lucky enough to find it at the store, rarely, but if it looks fresh I will contemplate splurging for some and usually do... NEVER a regret too!!

Canadian pike, YUMMO!!

10/21/20 @ 7:44 AM
MEMBER since 6/22/01

There are a few lakes in Southern Wisconsin that have removed the 26 inch minimum size limit cause there are too many pike in the lakes.  I heard Lake Geneva is one of them.  There are a few more down that way that also removed the size restrictions.  Pike are excellent pickling fish but other fish can be used as well.  Several lakes have no size limit on bass, so that might be an option for you as well.  Ever go up to Green Bay and try whitefish?  They are also excellent pickled.  I live near Madison as well, so the 26 inch size restriction frustrates me at times cause I'll catch tons of 25 inch northern and have to throw them back!  I don't even bother fishing northern on Mendota!

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