Public open house July 24 as fishing regs changes mulled on Lake of the Woods, Rainy River
It could be the talk of northwestern Minnesota – if not well beyond. And July 24, talk surrounding Lake of the Woods fishing regulations will get turned up another notch.
With the online public comment period in the books – it ended Wednesday, July 11 – the next step in the process of a draft five-year plan that guides fisheries management for the lake is a public open house. That’s scheduled Tuesday, July 24 from 5 -7 p.m. at the Lake of the Woods Ambulance garage, 111 First St. SW in Baudette.
“This open house will let participants ask questions and submit comments. No presentation will be made so people can arrive at any time,” Phil Talmage, Baudette area fisheries supervisor, said in a Minnesota DNR news release Thursday, July 12.
The plan outlines proposed five-year fish population objectives and management actions for walleye, sauger, northern pike and lake sturgeon. It was developed in partnership with the 14-member Lake of the Woods Fisheries Input Group, made up of a diverse group of stakeholders with an interest in the popular Minnesota-Canada border lake, according to the release.
Possible changes involving walleye and sauger are at the forefront of the proposed plan. Last month, the DNR said that proposed changes would reduce the aggregate limit of walleye and sauger in the winter to align with the summer regulations on Lake of the Woods (from eight to six fish or, ultimately, two less sauger to reportedly protect that population, which has seen higher harvest numbers in recent years, according to reports). Also, it would make spring angling on the Rainy River catch-and-release only for walleye and sauger (from two keepers to reportedly protect male fish, which also are said to be seeing higher harvest numbers because of a slot that ultimately includes mostly males). The changes would go into effect starting March 1, 2019.
While the 30-day online public comment period ended July 11, additional comments may also be submitted in writing at the public open house and through Wednesday, Aug. 15.
The updated Lake of the Woods Management Plan will be finalized early this fall. More information on the plan may be found at mndnr.gov/lakeofthewoods.