Northern Pike Management
Northern Pike are the largest predatory freshwater gamefish in Connecticut. While not native to Connecticut, they have been in the Connecticut River since the mid-1800s and became established in other areas of the state since then. The Fisheries Division introduced Northern Pike in Connecticut because they:
- Grow to a large size (Connecticut record = 29 lbs.).
- Have excellent fighting ability on rod and reel.
- Help control stunted panfish populations.
- Provide an additional angling opportunity during the ice fishing season as they remain active throughout the winter.
Leslie Slater with her state record Northern Pike 29.0 pound caught in 2020 (West Branch Reservoir, Colebrook/Hartland). Read about this awesome fish story in this Connecticut Wildlife Magazine article.
The Fisheries Division has worked to create and continues to maintain Northern Pike fisheries in the following four Northern Pike Management Lakes:
Northern Pike can also be found in waters across the state as they either have:
- Self-sustaining populations;
- Were stocked by the Fisheries Division at one time or were stocked through a DEEP permit by private organizations;
- Moved out of waters where they were stocked; or
- Were illegally introduced without a DEEP stocking permit.
Northern Pike can be found in:
- Connecticut River, its coves and major tributaries like the Mattabesset River and Salmon River
- Below Pachaug Pond (Pachaug River and Hopeville Pond)
- Lake Lillinonah
- Quaddick Reservoir
- Housatonic River (Above Great Falls and the Bulls Bridge Impoundment)
- Shetucket River (Below Willimantic)
- West Branch Reservoir
- Lake Beseck
The Northern Pike Management Lakes are supported by annual stockings of 4-6 inch “fingerlings”. To get fingerlings, the Fisheries Division catches adult Northern Pike in early spring and puts them in managed marshes in Haddam and Mansfield. The adult Northern Pike spawn in the marshes, the eggs hatch and the juvenile Northern Pike grow within the relatively stable environment of the managed marshes until June, when the marshes are drained to collect the resulting fingerlings and spawned adults. The adults are returned to their location where they were collected and the juveniles are stocked into the four Pike Management Lakes. Read more about CT's efforts to rear Northern Pike in select marshes in this article within Connecticut Wildlife Magazine.
Additionally, the Fisheries Division has been purchasing fingerling Northern Pike from a vendor in Minnesota and accepting donated fry from New Jersey to assist with getting a consistent number of fingerling available for stocking each year.
The Fisheries Division also stocks the Connecticut River with Northern Pike fingerlings to supplement the self-sustaining population there. Below is fisheries biologist Chris McDowell with one of the Northern Pike adults that will be used for spawning in 2020.
Maintaining existing Northern Pike fisheries through marsh management and fingerling stocking will ensure angler access to a unique and popular sport fishery.
Please contact the Fisheries Division with any questions.
Content last updated in September 2021.