DNR seeks input on possible trout, sturgeon, flathead and other angling changes
Interested citizens have until Monday, Feb. 11, to comment on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) considerations to provide more angler opportunity for trout and sturgeon, protect flathead catfish during winter and possibly change some other fisheries rules.
For trout, DNR is considering possible rules that:
• Simplify trout fishing regulations in southeastern Minnesota by dropping the barbless hook restriction (research has demonstrated that hooking mortality is not significantly greater with a barb);
• Extend the end of the fall catch-and-release season on all designated trout streams in southeastern Minnesota from Sept. 30 to Oct. 15;
• Allow catch-and-release angling on designated trout streams in some southeastern Minnesota state parks from Oct. 15 to Dec. 31; and
• Open some lakes in Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard counties to winter trout fishing.
Prompted by the successful recovery efforts of the sturgeon populations in the Red, Rainy, St. Croix and St. Louis rivers, DNR is considering the possibility of a catch-and-release sturgeon season on water bodies not currently open to sturgeon fishing.
DNR is considering possibly closing the taking of flathead catfish in winter. Because it takes many years for flathead to grow to trophy size of 50 pounds or more, these fish easily could be overharvested when lethargic in cold weather.
Other possible changes could place some restrictions on smelt harvest in Pine County’s Grindstone Lake and implement additional whitefish netting restrictions to better control the possibility of spreading invasive species.
DNR is seeking initial public comments on these ideas so that those comments can be considered and used to help inform DNR fisheries staff about how to move forward.
Comments, questions and requests for more information should be directed to Linda Erickson-Eastwood at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, 55155-4020. Citizens also may call 651-259-5206.
Complete information about the comment process is available online atwww.mndnr.gov/input/rules/fisheries/se-mn-trout.html.