DNR puts seasonal fishing closures in place

Joe AlbertA year ago, the air was warm, the water was open, and the grass – as I recall, anyway – was green.

Today is April 17, and while there is little snow on the ground as I write this (opening-day turkey hunters have to like that!), that’s apparently about to change. Winter’s tentacles are still here, and Mother Nature isn’t done with us yet.

The walleye opener is just more than three weeks away. In many parts of the state, folks aren’t wondering if the walleyes will be up on the shallow rocks, or whether they’ll be hitting light jigs and minnows – they’re wondering if they’ll be fishing open water, or on top of the ice.

Weird year, for sure.

But DNR officials say the cold spring and wintry weather won’t have a huge effect on the number of waters the agency closes to protect spawning fish.

Certainly, there will be more closures than last year, but that’s because everything happened so early in 2012.

“It’s probably going to be about the same number of closures as we have had in previous years,” said Linda Erickson-Eastwood, DNR Fisheries program manager. “The number coming in is about the same as two or three years ago.”

Given that fish such as walleyes and crappies move into backwater-type areas of lakes, or into streams and rivers, to congregate and spawn, the agency closes a number of areas every year to protect spawning fish.

One thing that’s out of the ordinary this year is that several closed areas around Red Lake aren’t closed for a specified period of time. Rather, they’re closed UFN – until further notice. While officials would like to open those areas before the fishing opener, they could remain closed beyond them if fish concentrations are still too high.

For a complete list of closures – and when they will re-open – click here.

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