DNR seeks comments on walleye regulations for Minnewawa and Horseshoe lakes in Aitkin County

Anglers interested in walleye regulations on Lake Minnewawa and Horseshoe Lake, near McGregor can attend an open house hosted by the Department of Natural Resources this fall.

The first open house will be on Sept. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the DNR Central Office, 500 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul.

The second open house will be on Oct. 4 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Aitkin DNR Office, 1200 Minnesota Ave. S., Aitkin.

Fisheries staff will provide background information, answer questions, and take public input on the future of experimental and special regulations on these waters, which may be modified, extended or dropped.

Currently, walleye angling on both lakes is subject to the statewide six fish limit, with one allowed over 20 inches in possession.

Historically, the walleye population on both lakes had been self-sustaining, with natural reproduction maintaining a good fishery since 1982.  However, poor recruitment in the late 2000s led to a change in management. Walleye fry were stocked each year from 2011 to 2018. Walleye numbers rebounded to historic levels resulting in a resurgence of walleye angling. But the increased fishing pressure raised concerns that the population could return to a depressed condition. The current regulation proposal is for a three fish limit, with one allowed over 20 inches in possession.

“Based on egg deposition checks conducted with the help of the Lake Minnewawa Association, there appears to be a good amount of spawning occurring around the lake,” said Aitkin area fisheries supervisor Rick Bruesewitz. “This bodes well for future natural reproduction and walleye management.”

He added, “The three fish limit is intended to reduce exploitation during those really good fishing years and moderate the harvest. The slightly reduced mortality will also help to maintain adequate spawners for the future.”

Comments on these regulations can also be mailed to Rick Bruesewitz, area fisheries supervisor, DNR Aitkin area fisheries, 1200 Minnesota Ave. S., Aitkin, MN  56431, or sent by email to aitkin.fisheries@state.mn.us.  Comments will be accepted through Oct. 18.