DNR proposes new muskie regs for some lakes, rivers
St. Paul — The Minnesota DNR believes its proposed new
regulations could improve muskie fishing in the state.
The regulations would raise the minimum size muskie that anglers
could keep from 40 to 48 inches on 46 select lakes and several
rivers. Signs will be posted this spring at each of the waters
potentially affected by the proposed regulation. A series of public
meetings will be held to take input this fall.
“This regulation is being proposed with the support of most
muskie anglers,” said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries program consultant.
“It reflects their catch-and-release philosophy and will help
maintain and perhaps improve the quality of our muskie fisheries as
more and more anglers target this magnificent trophy.”
Among lakes that would be affected by this regulation are Lake
Bemidji, Mille Lacs, Leech Lake, Deer and Moose lakes (Itasca
County) and East Rush and West Rush lakes (Chisago County). In
addition, anglers would be required to release all muskies caught
in the Mississippi River from the Blandin Dam in Grand Rapids,
south to Coon Rapids.
Currently, there are 81 Minnesota lakes with fishable
populations of muskies. Stevens said local DNR fisheries managers
proposed the new regulation for lakes with the best potential to
grow trophy muskies. These lakes are typically larger lakes with
ample numbers of prey fish and relatively low numbers of northern
pike. Many of these lakes are also prime walleye lakes, since the
two species coexist very well.
“Because muskies characteristically occur in low densities,
judging the success of this regulation will be difficult,” said Tim
Goeman, DNR Northeast Region fisheries manager. “Our sample sizes
will always be smaller than we would like, but hopefully in a few
years, we will begin to see positive results as anglers start
catching even larger muskies.”
There are a number of muskie waters in Minnesota where anglers
catch fish of 50 to 53 inches. With increased protection, the
maximum size of muskies in some Minnesota waters could reach into
the upper 50-inch size range.
The Minnesota state record for muskellunge is 54 inches and 56
pounds, caught in Lake Winnibigoshish in 1957.