DNR seeks comments on Grand Marais area lake and stream management plans

Anglers and others interested in Department of Natural Resources strategies for managing Grand Marias area lakes and streams are invited to review and comment on management plans scheduled for review this fall. This annual process includes several waters located within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Comments on lakes within the BWCAW will be accepted until Dec. 20. The comment period for lakes and streams outside the BWCAW, will extend through Feb. 15.

A management plan identifies specific management activities planned for a lake or stream over the next five to 20 years, including any proposed stocking or special regulations.

“Management plans are our best single sources of information on past, present and desired future conditions in our lakes and streams,” said Steve Persons, Grand Marais area fisheries supervisor. “Comments and suggestions from those most interested in these waters are crucial when it comes to making plans and determining management success. For anglers this is the best opportunity to influence how these lakes and streams are managed.”

In the Grand Marais area, plans for the following lakes and streams will reviewed this winter.

Lake plans under review:

The status and preservation of native lake trout populations will be the primary concern in plans being revised for Blue Snow and Gabimichigami Lakes. Both are located inside the BWCAW.

Stream trout stocking and management strategies will be reviewed in Thompson, Thrush, Turnip, Olson, Kraut, Little Portage, Olga, Mavis (BWCAW), Missing Link (BWCAW), Meditation (BWCAW), Talus, Trout, Pine (near Two Island Lake), Unnamed (near Tom Lake), Chester, Extortion, and North Shady Lakes. Options to consider include changes in species, reductions in stocking frequency, and changes in the number or size of fish stocked. In Mine, Peanut, Weasel (Sled), Tomato, Trip, and Rog (BWCAW) Lakes, fisheries managers are considering eliminating trout stocking, due to the high cost of stocking remote lakes by air, poor survival of stocked fish, or use that appears to have been too low to justify the cost of continued stocking.  Angler feedback on fisheries in these lakes is critically needed for these important decisions.

Plans for Devilfish, Gust, Hand, and Tom Lakes will be reviewed with attention to the status and needs of walleye fisheries in those lakes. Moore Lake will be reviewed to determine whether it offers any potential for panfish management.

Plans for several lightly-used BWCAW lakes in the area, including Caribou (by Clearwater), Clove, Kiskadinna, Long, Mora, Morgan, Skipper, and Tepee Lakes will be reviewed. Those plans will be revised primarily to incorporate any new survey data that may have been obtained, and to establish survey schedules for the next few years.

Streams plans under review:

Plans for Beaverdam Creek and the Swamp River will be reviewed.  Both are marginal trout streams, and may be considered for removal from the State’s list of designated trout streams.

Plans for the Cascade River, Elbow Creek, and the Onion River will also be reviewed. All three support thriving brook trout populations, with the Cascade and Onion Rivers also supporting steelhead and salmon in their lower reaches. Plans will focus on habitat and water quality, hydrology and watershed issues. The DNR is considering removing the portion of Elbow Creek above Elbow Lake from the State’s list of designated trout streams, since no trout have been found in that part of the stream in recent surveys.

Current plans for lakes and streams in the area as well as recent fish population assessment information are available for review at the DNR’s Grand Marais area fisheries office, at 1356 E. Highway 61, Grand Marais, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For more information, call or email Steve Persons at 218-387-6022 or steve.persons@state.mn.us.

Public comments on management of BWCAW waters are due by Dec. 20. The comment period for lakes and streams outside the BWCAW will extend through Feb. 15. Comments, suggestions and other feedback on the management of these, and all other streams and lakes in the area are welcomed at any time and will be considered when those plans are next due for review.