Leech Lake 5-year management plan finalized

A new five-year fisheries management plan for Leech Lake in northern Minnesota has been released by the Department of Natural Resources. The plan covers the period 2016-2020 and outlines management objectives for primary sportfish populations, as well as steps to reach these goals.

The document was developed by combining fisheries science with extensive public input. Management actions in this plan include habitat protection, special regulations, stocking of game fish (when specified population triggers are met),  and continued support for double-crested cormorant control, as well as expanded sampling for other important species such as largemouth bass and tullibee, also called cisco.

“The plan aims to provide a quality sustainable sport fishery in Leech Lake for the long term,” said Henry Drewes, DNR northwest region fisheries manager.

The plan was developed with input from the 16-member Leech Lake Fisheries Input Group representing local and statewide interests in Leech Lake management activities. The group met regularly over a six-month period beginning in March 2015 to discuss sportfish management objectives and how those objectives might be achieved.

“I cannot say enough about how much energy the input group members put into this process,” said Doug Schultz, Walker area fisheries supervisor. “Their efforts contributed immensely to the overall quality of the new management plan.”

The draft management plan was presented for broader public input during September 2015. Over the past few months public comments were collated and the draft plan was revised to reflect some of the common themes that emerged from the public input process.

The final plan, approved by DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, can be viewed at on the Walker area fisheries office page. Electronic copies of the plan can also be obtained by emailing the Walker area fisheries office at walker.fisheries@state.mn.us.

Leech Lake covers 112,000 acres and is a popular year-around recreation destination. The lake is home to walleye, muskellunge, northern pike, yellow perch, largemouth bass and a number of other fish species sought by anglers.