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Sunday, February 25th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Sunday, February 25th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Minnesota DNR seeks public comment on statewide fishing proposals

Public open-house meetings will be held in various locations, including a general meeting regarding all proposals in St. Paul. (Stock photo)

St. Paul — The Minnesota DNR is seeking comment on fishing proposals for a number of lakes across the state. Public open-house meetings will be held in various locations, including a general meeting regarding all proposals in St. Paul.

Lake Winnibigoshish and other Itasca County lakes

The DNR will hold an open house to collect public comments and share information on two proposed fishing regulation changes related to sunfish in Lake Winnibigoshish and connected waters, and northern pike in Balsam, Haskell, and Scrapper lakes in Itasca County.

The open house will be from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Squaw Lake Community Center in the town of Squaw Lake in Itasca County. The open house covers two regulation proposals.

On Lake Winnibigoshish and the connected Mississippi River to Cass Lake (Beltrami, Cass, Itasca counties), the daily limit would be reduced to five sunfish. This change would facilitate easier enforcement on these waters and is already in effect for connected Cut Foot Sioux and Little Cut Foot Sioux lakes.

In the connected lakes of Balsam, Haskell, and Scrapper (Itasca County), a 24- to 36-inch protected slot limit, with a three-fish possession limit, would be applied to northern pike. Currently, Balsam Lake has this limit, but the other two connected waters do not.

If adopted, the proposed sunfish regulations would be effective beginning March 1, 2024, and the northern pike regulations would be effective May 11, 2024.

Comments about proposed regulation changes may also be made online by visiting the Minnesota DNR website and taking the online survey. In addition, comments about these proposals may be directed to the Grand Rapids area fisheries office by calling (218) 328-8836, emailing grandrapids.fisheries@state.mn.us, or mailing to Grand Rapids Area Fisheries, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744.

Comments will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 20.

Lakes in Wright, Stearns counties

The DNR will hold an open house to collect public comments and share information on a proposal to improve angling opportunities on several waters in Wright and Stearns counties, by reducing daily limits for sunfish.

An open house will be held from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the Clearwater Township Hall to collect comments regarding Clearwater Lake and connected waters in Stearns and Wright counties.

On Clearwater Lake and connected Augusta, Caroline, Grass, and Otter lakes, the daily limit for crappies would be lowered from 10 fish to five, and the sunfish daily limit would be lowered from 20 fish to 10. The reduced daily limit would help maintain and protect the current size structures of the crappie and sunfish populations in these lakes. It would also have the potential to increase the average size of sunfish.

The DNR will hold an open house to collect public comments and share information on a proposal to improve angling on Maple Lake in Wright County by reducing daily limits on crappies and sunfish.

The open house will be held from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, at the American Legion Post in Maple Lake.

On Maple Lake, the daily limit for crappies would be lowered from 10 fish to five, and the sunfish daily limit would be lowered from 20 fish to 10. The reduced daily limit would help maintain and protect the size structures of the crappie and sunfish populations in this lake. It would also have the potential to increase the average size of sunfish.

If adopted, the proposed panfish regulations would go into effect March 1, 2024.

The DNR also will hold an open house to collect public comments and share information on a proposal to review the existing experimental fishing regulation for northern pike on Pearl Lake in Stearns County.

The open house will be held from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Holy Cross Catholic School in Kimball.

Under the experimental regulation, all northern pike from 24 to 36 inches must be immediately released, and the possession limit is three, only one of which may be over 36 inches.

Since 2009, when the regulation began, the average size of northern pike has remained fairly small at 20 inches.

However, the percentage of preferred-sized northern pike (larger than 24 inches) has increased. In 2018, statewide zone-based regulations for northern pike began, and without the experimental regulation, Pearl Lake would fall into the North-Central Zone which is a 22- to 26-inch protected slot with a possession limit of 10 – of which only two may be greater than 26 inches. The zone regulation appears to be a good fit for Pearl Lake and may increase the average size of northern pike and still provide some protection for preferred-sized fish.

Options under consideration include making the regulation permanent, modifying the existing regulation, or repealing the existing regulation and reverting to the North-Central Zone northern pike regulation.

Comments about regulation changes being proposed for Wright and Stearns lakes may also be made online by visiting the Minnesota DNR website and taking the online survey. In addition, comments about the proposal may be directed to the DNR Sauk Rapids fisheries office at (320) 223-7867, emailing Joe.Stewig@state.mn.us, or by filling out the online survey. Written comments may be sent to DNR Sauk Rapids area fisheries, 1035 South Benton Drive, Sauk Rapids, MN 56379.

Comments will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 13.

In addition to the above-listed open houses, there will be a statewide open house to accept comments on all proposed regulations from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the DNR Central Office, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

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