The Department of Natural Resources announced that walleye harvest regulations on seven lakes throughout Itasca County will continue and no new regulations will be implemented at this time.
Public support for the 17- to 26-inch protected slot on Swan, Splithand, Trout (near Coleraine), Moose (near Deer River), Round (near Squaw Lake), Deer/Battle/Pickerel (near Effie), and Island (near Northome) was generally good so the regulation will continue for those lakes. For Sand, Bowstring and Jessie lakes, support for the regulation was insufficient so the protected slot will not be implemented on those lakes at this time.
The proposals were part of a statewide initiative to maintain and improve recreational fisheries using a suite of simplified regulation options. The decision to implement or drop the proposals was based on biological data and comments received between May and early October, and comments from two public meetings held in October. Signs were posted at access points and at resorts informing anglers of the proposals and requesting comments.
More than 1,100 people responded with calls, letters, or emails, and 35 people attended the public meetings and made comments. The comments represent a diverse group of individual anglers. On some lakes hundreds of comments were received, while on others there were few.
“For most lakes, anglers supported the regulation because they have seen the benefits at that lake or other regulated waters and they felt we needed to do something to conserve or improve these fisheries,” said Chris Kavanaugh, area fisheries supervisor. “Comments in opposition were generally related to the feeling that this proposal was too restrictive, catered to some other group of anglers, or they felt it wasn’t necessary.”
Monitoring efforts will continue on each of the lakes to track changes in the fish population in order to assess the effectiveness of the regulation. Sand, Bowstring and Jessie will also be monitored regularly to see if any changes are noted there as well.
For more information on the regulation changes please contact the Grand Rapids area fisheries office at 1201 E. Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, 218-327-4430 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.