DNR fisheries seeks input on northern pike regulation proposals for Sand Lake in northern Itasca County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will host a public open house to gather input on northern pike regulations that have been in place on Sand Lake in northern Itasca County.

The open house will be held on Thursday, Sept. 28, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Sand Lake Community Center at 53020 N Center Road (Co. Rd 4), Max. The open house is intended to provide background information, answer questions, and take public input on the future regulations for Sand Lake.

The lake is currently managed with an experimental regulation that allows a possession limit of nine northern pike and requires all pike from 22-36 inches to be immediately released.  The current regulation has been in place since 2007 and the data show general improvement in the northern pike size structure.

“There has been a statewide initiative to change northern pike regulations by implementing a zone concept, with northeast, northcentral and southern zones.  When implemented, the new north central zone regulation would be similar to the current special regulation on Sand Lake,” said Grand Rapids area fisheries supervisor Dave Weitzel. “If that happens, the zone proposal is expected to provide similar results, and the special regulation on Sand may no longer be needed.”

Other options being considered include switching to the northcentral zone regulation, leaving the existing regulation in place, or switching to a “tool box” regulation with a 24- to 36-inch protected slot and a three fish bag limit.

“We want anglers to be informed and encourage them to ask us any questions they have,” Weitzel said. “Successful regulations must balance biological and social concern, so the comment period and the meetings are extremely important to us.  We want to know how anglers value these fisheries and implement the best regulation to ensure that angler expectations are being met.”
More information is available by contacting the Grand Rapids Area Fisheries office at 218-328-8836 and on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/grandrapids/index.html. Comments on these proposals can be directed to Dave Weitzel, DNR area fisheries, 1201 E. Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744 or david.weitzel@state.mn.us. Written comments will be accepted through Oct. 10.