"Catch the Cousin" Virtual Ice Fishing Contest: A Conservation Project



“Catch the Cousin” VIRTUAL Northern Pike

Ice Fishing Contest

A Conservation Project hosted by the North Metro Chapter of Muskie’s Inc.

*Logo Created by Ted Mitshulis

January 9 – February 28, 2021

(Every Saturday & Sunday ONLY)


Welcome to the 2021 First Annual “Catch the Cousin” conservation contest, brought to you by the North Metro Chapter of Muskie’s Inc. (Chapter 21)! To keep the party going all year long, we are hosting this contest to highlight a muskie relative – the Northern Pike – and also to emphasize the importance of fisheries conservation. Let’s get it on!



Even though these relatives look similar and are of the toothy Esox variety, catching Minnesota’s Northern Pikes during the ice fishing season is a whole new ball game. In addition, it is just as important to help preserve and protect our fisheries in the winter as it is during open water season. This is an “on your honor” tournament, so please report your fishing results accurately. We encourage all participants to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols, but we hope you can make this a family affair! Bring your kids, dogs, and grills and enjoy some fresh air out on the ice.



This virtual tournament is 100% FREE to all NMMI members, including youth participants. You’ve got nothing to lose and every reason to join!



This contest will be a weekend-only tournament (Saturdays and Sundays ONLY) from January 9 – February 28, 2021. All fish must be reported by 11:59 PM on February 28, 2021. You can fish in any lake, river, pond, or stream in Minnesota or Wisconsin. However, if you plan to harvest fish for the Hammer Handle Harvest Bonus (see below), we hope that you’ll choose a Minnesota muskie lake.



While this contest is all about finding ways to catch Northern Pike, there is also an equal emphasis on finding ways to preserve and protect our beautiful Minnesota fisheries. If you are spearing, we highly encourage you NOT to spear any trophy pike. Please take a photo of your fish and/or harvest and/or ice clean-up and submit photos.




Northern Pike

25” – 29”

3 Points

30” – 34”

5 Points

35” – 39”

10 Points


15 Points

Hammer-Handle Harvest Bonus

*ONLY North-Central Pike Zone

2 Points per fish

Ice Clean-Up Conservation Bonus

*ONLY one point allotted per day

1 Point


Hammer-Handle Limit Harvest Bonus

The Minnesota DNR recently rolled out the state’s Northern Pike Zones, and the largest North Central Zone is plagued with too many small pike. This overabundance of small pike is problematic, so we are giving bonus points to anyone who catches and harvests hammer-handle pike in this zone (fish eligible for harvest bonus must be under 22”). Please make sure to take pictures of your harvest to get the points! In addition, please feel free to share how you like to cook and eat your delicious little hammer-handles. [How to Fillet Northern Pike]


Ice Clean-Up Conservation Bonus

We all know that there are irresponsible anglers who leave plenty of trash behind on the ice. However, if you stop to grab some of this trash and do your part to conserve our beautiful lakes, you will be awarded bonus points. A maximum of one point allotted per day and picking up your own trash does not count towards the bonus. Please make sure to take pictures of your haul to get the points!

  • *Extra Credit: If you want to get really creative with your conservation efforts, consider magnet fishing and see what you can pull up.



To record your points and get on the board, please report your photos and measurements to NMMI Board Member Nikki Bentley and feel free to share your photos on the Facebook NMMI League Night page. [Text: 701-261-2894/ Email:] Weekly results will be tabulated and shared via social media and our NMMI membership newsletters.



Prize packages will be awarded for the following categories and include such items as iFishPros, lures, tackle, NMMI merchandise, and much more!

  • First Place
  • Second Place
  • Third Place
  • Hammer-Handle Champ
  • Ice Clean-Up Champ

"Catch the Cousin" Virtual Northern Pike Ice Fishing Contest



North Metro Annual Fish Fry

Our Annual Fish Fry our marquee event of the year for our Chapter with over $20,000 in prizes given away.  The Annual Fish Fry includes a number of things:  short award presentation for our Member’s Only Contest; some of the most recognizable anglers in our sport, games, raffles, and silent auctions.  Each year we give away thousands of dollars worth of great prizes and all enjoy a great All-You-Can-Eat Deep Fried Fish Dinner.  This is being rescheduled from February to a date in early Spring 2021 and is pending MN Governor's orders on large gatherings. 
Location:  the
 Coon Rapids VFW Post 9625, 1919 Coon Rapids Blvd NW, Coon Rapids, MN  55433.


Rod Building Class

Gary Wicks from Gary’s Custom Rod & Reel donates his time to help you learn how to build your own custom rod (Muskie to ice fishing rod of your choice).  Gary offers the North Metro Chapter a great deal on custom blanks.  You actually start with a plain rod blank and build the handle, add guides and add in your favorite colors.  This event is typically held on a Saturday in March/April. 


Member’s Only Contest

This is the year-long contest for catching fish as a North Metro Chapter Member that runs from January 12th thru Dec 1st on legal waters.  Members keep track of their fish by logging them at the Muskies Inc Website.  Awards are handed out at the North Metro Banquet for the various Division Winners.  Divisions include Masters for Men and Women, Men’s, Women’s and Junior's girls and boys, so everyone can participate. 


June Jam

The North Metro Chapter hosts a tournament in the Luck, Wisconsin area in Western Wisconsin.  There are 8 local waters to fish, including Deer, Bone, the Apple River and more.  This annual event is scheduled for the second weekend after the Minnesota Muskie Opener.   


League Night

The North Metro schedules weekly outings for various metro lakes for our League Night.  The lakes change weekly and you get points for catching fish and for fishing with various partners.  The main focus of this event is to get out on the lake, fish with new people, build comrade and just have some fun.  Lure Awards are awarded to the top three persons with the most points at the end of the year.  There is a participation drawing; each night a person fishes they receive one chance at the end of year drawing for prizes including a St. Croix Tournament Legend Rod.


Members Picnic

Our Annual Members Picnic will be held at Bald Eagle Regional Park. The Chapter supplies hot dogs, chips, and beverages.  We try to get in a casting game and do a Lure Swap where people bring baits and either swap or sell them. It’s a casual afternoon outdoors and building friendships which hopefully the weather cooperates.


Red Wing Lodge Outing

North Metro Members John Van Ingen and John "Geno" Genosky coordinate a big group of people from the Twin Cites and North Metro Chapters to head up to Red Wing Lodge on Lake of the Woods for a yearly event.  All members and non-members of Muskies Inc. are welcomed to participate in this great trip. 


This full one week trip comes at an incredibly good price.  Large numbers of fish are caught every year by the people that attend and they all have a great time!  Outing occurs in August.


Gil Hamm Chapter Challunge

This week long event is an International Muskies Inc Event.  Chapters typically send 1 or 2 teams to battle for the Lunge Bucket and the bragging rights over the two and half day tournament.  Each team is made up of 6 individuals, with each chapter being able to send as many teams as they want.  This event is a great way to meet other chapters and their members.  This usually occurs in August/September and the winning Chapter determines the date and location for the following years Challunge.


Contact Us Today!

North Metro Chapter of Muskies, Inc.

Please click HERE to learn more about out Annual Banquet and to purchase tickets!

IMPORTANT: Our January 19th Members Meeting has been CANCELLED due to Covid-19 and we hope to hold our February at the Coon Rapids VFW.

Please join us at our general meetings the 3rd Tuesday of each month, Oct. through May. Each month we have a speaker come in and the topics vary from local metro area tactics to the basics of reel cleaning. We also have a rod and reel raffle and lure raffle. You DO NOT need to be a member to attend our general meetings.


3rd Tuesday of the month 7pm – 9pm


Coon Rapids VFW - 1919 Coon Rapids Blvd NW


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