Year-round trout fishing in parts of SE Minnesota, new walleye regs on Vermilion

All species present in the river were affected in the kill-off, one official says, including walleye.

Changes will allow for trout fishing year-round in Chatfield, Lanesboro, Preston and Spring Valley in southeastern Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Also Tuesday, the DNR announced that anglers on Lake Vermilion in northeastern Minnesota will be able to keep walleye up to 20 inches long, with one allowed over 26 inches, starting with the May fishing opener.  

The change in southeastern Minnesota allows catch-and-release trout fishing in the fall in the aforementioned cities, which means anglers can either catch and release or catch and keep trout depending on the time of year on the South Branch Root River in Preston and Lanesboro, Mill Creek in Chatfield, and Spring Valley Creek in Spring Valley.

The change is among several to fishing regulations that are specific to individual waters and go into effect March 1. Following public review that wrapped up this past fall, fishing regulations will change on six lakes and three streams starting in March, while existing regulations on three lakes will become permanent and a regulation on one lake will be extended.

These changes include new regulations that have not yet been in effect, regulations that have been in effect but will be modified or dropped, and regulations turning permanent that were reviewed and will now be in effect indefinitely.

Regulations that are specific to individual waters take precedence over statewide regulations. Special regulations can be found in their own section of the Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet, on the Fish Minnesota page using LakeFinder, and posted at public accesses.

  • Modified regulations — Lake Vermilion (St. Louis County): Anglers on Lake Vermilion will be able to keep walleye up to 20 inches long, with one allowed over 26 inches, starting with the May fishing opener. The new regulation will require release of all fish from 20 to 26 inches with only one allowed over 26 inches. The four-fish bag limit will remain the same.
  • New regulations — Little Webb Lake, Moccasin Lake and Lake Thirteen (Cass County): Five-fish bag limits on sunfish and on black crappie on Little Webb and Moccasin lakes, and a bag limit of five on sunfish for Lake Thirteen, are being adopted and will be reviewed after 10 years to evaluate how well they maintain quality sunfish and crappie for anglers. Sections of the South Branch Root River in Preston and Lanesboro; Mill Creek in Chatfield; and Spring Valley Creek in Spring Valley (Fillmore and Olmsted counties): Catch-and-release fishing allowed roughly within these city limits from Oct. 15 through Dec. 31. Although the boundaries of where anglers can fish through this change roughly encompass the length of the streams in these four cities, the boundaries are not the actual city limits. Specific boundaries will be listed in the Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet, available in March.
  • Regulations turning permanent — Carnelian Lake and Pleasant Lake (Stearns County): Experimental regulations on sunfish that have been in effect since 2007 will become permanent. A reduced bag limit of five sunfish were shown to have effectively maintained quality populations of sunfish. Sugar Lake (Wright County): Northern pike and black crappie experimental regulations that have been in effect since 2007 have shown to improve the sizes of northern pike and crappie and will become permanent.
  • Dropped regulations — Bowstring and Round lakes and connected waters (Itasca County): Experimental regulations on northern pike will be dropped and return to the statewide regulation. The regulation objective to encourage harvest of abundant small pike will likely be achieved by the new northern pike zone regulation set to be adopted in the spring.
  • Continued experimental regulations — Sand Lake and connected waters (Itasca County): Implemented with regulations on Bowstring and Round lakes, the experimental regulations on northern pike will be continued for one year, allowing additional time to collect survey data in 2017 before making a final decision on retaining or dropping next fall.

On Vermilion, the new regulation will require release of walleye from 20 to 26 inches, a change that is less restrictive compared to the current regulation that requires release of walleye from 18 to 26 inches. The four fish bag limit will remain the same.

The DNR considered and modeled several options for the regulation change, and sought opinions from the public, as well as from the Lake Vermilion Fisheries Input Group that represents lake and statewide interests. The group generally was in favor of a regulation change although had no majority opinion on a specific regulation. The broader public also had a range of preferences, with two-thirds supporting a regulation change and one third preferring no change.

The DNR chose the 20-to-26 inch protected slot because it has a lower risk of harvesting too many fish and is in line with public input indicating a preference for less risk, according to the agency.

Categories: News, Press Releases, Walleye

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