Whitefish, cisco sport netting to open on area lakes

Opening dates have been set for whitefish and tullibee (cisco) sport netting on area lakes, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Grand Rapids Area Fisheries Office.

Lakes open to whitefish and tullibee sport netting Nov. 1 through Dec. 8:

• Bass (north basin).

• Ball Club.

• Bowstring*.

• Little Bowstring.

• Cut Foot Sioux*.

• Deer (near Effie).

• Grave.

• Jessie.

• Maple.

• Pokegama.

• Round (near Squaw Lake –1.75 inch mesh).

• Rush Island.

• Sand (near Max)*.

• Swan. (1.75 inch mesh)

• Twin Lakes (near Marble).

• Winnibigoshish* and

• Little Winnibigoshish* (1.75 inch mesh).

*Bowstring, Cut Foot Sioux, Sand, Winnibigoshish and Little Winnibigoshish are designated infested waters because of the presence of faucet snails or zebra mussels. Nets and equipment used in infested waters may not be used in any other waterbody in 2013.

The following lakes are open to netting following a 48-hour notice posted at public accesses and the DNR website. Anticipated opening dates for other lakes are:

• Oct. 25 through Dec. 1, for Deer (near Deer River) and Turtle.

• Nov. 1 through Dec. 8, for Side and South Sturgeon (1.75 inch mesh).

• Nov. 15 through Dec. 15, for Big Balsam and Nashwauk (1.75 inch mesh).

Opening dates for netting are determined based on fish abundance, climatic conditions and vulnerability of game fish.

Fishing regulations require that:

• A whitefish netting license is purchased.

• Nets are set after sunrise on the opening day and removed before sunset on the closing day.

• Only one gill net is used, not exceeding 100 feet in length and 3 feet in width.

• One end of the gill net must have a pole, stake or buoy projecting at least two feet above the surface of the water or ice.

• Gill nets must have an identification tag attached near the first float of the end with the pole, stake or buoy.

• Identification tags must be a minimum of 2½ inches by 5/8 inch, permanently bearing the name and address of the owner.

• Gill nets may not be set after sunset or raised before sunrise.

• Gill nets must be set and lifted by the licensee only, and must be tended at least once every 24 hours.

• A gill net or any part of a gill net may not be set in any waters deeper than 6 feet, measured from the lake bottom to the top surface of the water or ice.

• A gill net may not be set within 50 feet of another gill net.

• Whitefish and ciscoes taken by sport gill netting may not be bought or sold.

• Gill nets must have a minimum gill net mesh size of 1¾ or 3½ inch net stretch measure, depending on the lake. (Net stretch measure means the interior distance between opposite knots or corners of a single mesh of net, take between the thumb and forefinger and applying enough pressure laterally to allow the opposite sides of the mesh to touch.)

Nets should be dried for a minimum of 10 days or frozen for two days before being used in a different water body. If a net is used in infested waters, the net and equipment may not be used in any other waters in 2013. Aquatic invasive species transport laws apply to netters during the fall and winter months just as they would for anglers during warm season angling.

About 700 people obtain special permits to net for whitefish-tullibee each year. DNR bases netting schedules on expected water temperatures. As the water temperature cools, game fish head to deeper water and whitefish-tullibee come to shallow water for fall spawning. Netting is allowed when there is little chance that game fish populations would be negatively impacted by recreational netting in shallow water.

Minnesota law restricts the size of the net and its openings; requires that netting be done in water not deeper than six feet unless specifically authorized; stipulates that netted fish cannot be sold; and requires that only rough fish caught in the net may be kept. State law also limits net size to 100 feet long and 3 feet wide; allows one person to use no more than one net; and forbids recreational netters from possessing angling equipment when netting whitefish-tullibee.

For more information about sport netting and fishing regulations, visit www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing/index.html, then click on whitefish and ciscoes sport gillnetting regulations, or contact the DNR’s Grand Rapids area office at 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, or call 218-327-4430.