Public invited to comment on special fishing regulations

During a series of public meetings, anglers and others can give their opinions about fishing regulations that are in place or are newly proposed on 32 lakes, the Department of Natural Resources said. 

The DNR has scheduled 11 meetings across the state in coming weeks to review regulations that apply to individual waters, and the DNR also is accepting written and verbal public comments on the regulations before and 10 days after each meeting.

Highlights of topics being covered include proposals for new walleye regulations on Wabedo and Little Boy lakes in Cass County, relaxing northern pike regulations on three lakes in the Little Falls area, and a proposal to modify or drop special regulations on eight trout lakes in Cook County.

“We want to ensure anglers can find places with quality fishing in this state,” said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries regulations consultant. “In many places statewide regulations, such as bag limits, do an adequate job in providing opportunities to catch quality-sized fish. Special regulations are a more specific tool that fish managers can use to ensure there are local opportunities for quality fishing.”

Special regulations work by either protecting existing quality fishing or improving waters with the potential for quality fishing. If special regulations don’t appear to be working or meeting management goals, DNR discusses options including removing or modifying the regulation.

Special or experimental regulations limit the length or number of fish anglers can keep, and are found in their own section of the 2017 Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook (pages 36 to 52).

While the DNR regularly reviews both special and experimental regulations, experimental regulations are in effect for a specific period of time, usually 10 to 15 years. Before experimental regulations end, fisheries managers evaluate them and gather input from public meetings to help determine whether they should be extended, modified or dropped.

Meeting details

  • Aitkin County (Aitkin area fisheries):  Review special regulations on northern pike on Long and Sissabagahmah lakes, 4:30-7 p.m, Friday, Oct. 6, Aitkin Area Fisheries office, 1200 Minnesota Ave. South, Aitkin.
  • Beltrami County (Bemidji area fisheries):  Review special bass regulations on Balm, Big Bass, Deer and South Twin lakes, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, Northern Township Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji.
  • Cass County (Walker area fisheries): Review special bass regulations on Portage Lake, and discuss a proposal for new walleye regulations on Little Boy and Wabedo lakes, 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 27, Woodrow Township Hall, 1133 County Road 11 NW, Hackensack.
  • Clearwater and Hubbard counties (Bemidji area fisheries): Review sunfish, black crappie and bass regulations on Itasca, Ozawindib and Mary lakes; two concurrent meetings, one meeting  6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in Itasca State Park Visitor Center, Park Rapids; the other 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19 in Douglas Lodge in Itasca State Park; address for both meetings is 36750 Main Park Drive.
  • Cook County (Grand Marais area fisheries): Review trout management and special regulations on Kraut, North Shady, Peanut, Squash, Thompson, Thrush, Tomato and Turnip lakes; and review smallmouth bass regulations on Flour, Hungry Jack and Two Island lakes, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, Cook County Community Center, 317 W. Fifth St., Grand Marais.
  • Crow Wing County (Brainerd area fisheries): Review the closed-to-fishing regulation on Moody Lake, 3-6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21, upper conference room, DNR Brainerd Area Office, 1601 Minnesota Drive, Brainerd.
  • Itasca County (Grand Rapids area fisheries): Review of existing northern pike regulations on Sand, Little Sand, Portage and Birds Eye lakes and connected waters, 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, Sand Lake Community Center, 53020 N. Center Road, Spring Lake.
  • Morrison and Todd counties (Little Falls area fisheries):  Review existing northern pike regulations on Big Swan, Cedar (Upsula) and Bass (Trophy) lakes, 6-8 p.m., Monday Sept. 11, Burtrum City Hall, Burtrum.
  • St. Louis County (International Falls area fisheries): Review of the existing bass and northern pike regulations on Pelican Lake, 7-9 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 17, the American Legion, Orr.

Call or write to local fisheries offices to comment about regulations proposals. Phone numbers of local fisheries offices can be found online on the fisheries page or on page 94 of the fishing regulations handbook. The offices will accept written or verbal comments up to 10 days following a local meeting.

Anyone who cannot attend a local meeting can attend an open house about the regulation proposals that will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the DNR headquarters in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road. No formal presentations will be made at the open house.

Additionally, staff will be available to take comments on any proposal through Monday, Oct. 9. Comment by email to al.stevens@state.mn.us or by calling him at 651-259-5239.