Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Minnesota DNR to expand muskie fishing opportunities

Roosevelt Lake in northern Crow Wing County and the Sauk River
chain of lakes in Stearns County southwest of St. Cloud will be
stocked with muskellunge this fall in response to growing angler
interest, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources (DNR).

“This decision is a positive step consistent with our long-range
management plan for muskie and northern pike,” said Dirk Peterson,
DNR fisheries management chief. “Many people representing a wide
variety of interests helped create that plan, and the desire to
develop new muskie fisheries was clear.”

Results of DNR’s extensive public comment process in 2010 showed
that about 80 percent of 25,000 comments received supported
stocking muskellunge in additional lakes. The substance of all
comments, regardless of support or opposition, were factored into
the DNR’s decision.

Muskie will not be stocked this fall in three other lakes the
DNR was considering. Upper and Lower South Long lakes near Brainerd
will not be considered further for muskie management. Stocking in
Lake Tetonka west of Waterville has been put on hold indefinitely
pending resolution of local issues.

“Although physically and biologically suitable for muskie
management, the lakes initially proposed in the Brainerd area have
public access issues that raise public safety concerns,” said Tim
Goeman, northeast regional fisheries supervisor. “Their combined
2,100 surface acres also would not meet muskellunge fishing demand
in the Brainerd area, so we will continue to look for a larger,
yet-to-be-identified lake for future consideration.” No new lakes
are currently under consideration, he said.

DNR will collect additional information on recreation use and user
attitudes in the Lake Tetonka area and expand its public outreach
efforts before re-considering stocking muskie in Tetonka.

Stocking muskie in Roosevelt Lake and the Sauk River chain is a
step toward fulfilling a goal in the long-range management plan
that calls for up to eight new waters to be stocked by 2020,
focused on areas of the state without nearby muskie fishing
opportunity.

The muskellunge is one of Minnesota’s largest fish, growing to more
than 50 pounds and more than 50 inches in length. Anglers have
become increasingly interested in the so-called “fish of 10,000
casts” now that 50-plus inch fish can be caught in Lake Mille Lacs,
Lake Vermilion and other waters that have been stocked since the
1980s.

“As muskie have grown in size and abundance, so has interest in
catching them,” Goeman said.

Muskie anglers are the fastest-growing segment of Minnesota’s
fishing population. About 14 percent of Minnesota’s licensed
anglers target muskie, and the quality experiences Minnesota offers
attract muskie anglers from across the nation.

 

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