Minnesota angler sets new benchmark for northern pike state record

Minnesota anglers who want to catch a state record northern pike now have a new mark to beat after angler Matthew Swanson of Woodbury has claimed the record with a 45 1/4 inch northern pike caught on the Rainy River.

The record surpasses the first ever record set in early October when Maddy Ogg caught and released a 43 1/2 inch pike from Mille Lacs; however, Swanson reeled in his pike five months earlier, in May. The Department of Natural Resources received Swanson’s application on Oct. 29 and certified the fish soon after.

Swanson was on an annual Rainy River pike fishing trip with his dad and brother. Swanson reported that after three days of fishing, he had not landed any large pike, but his dad and brother had caught several over 30 inches. His father fishes spring pike with streamer flies on 30-pound test wire line. Using his dad’s setup, Swanson took a few casts and the water around his fly exploded – he had hooked a big pike.

After a brief fight and some careful netting, Swanson had caught the 45 1/4 inch northern pike. They handled the large pike carefully to get a couple pictures and a length measurement before releasing the fish.

“Because this was to date my first and only pike on a fly, it was a very memorable experience,” Swanson said.

Cool spring and fall temperatures make for excellent catch-and-release conditions. The DNR announces new state records in news releases, on social media and on the DNR website. Find current records and guidelines for each type of state record at mndnr.gov/recordfish.