Reviews of existing or newly proposed fishing regulations will be the subject of seven public meetings conducted across the state in the coming weeks by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The meetings will focus on 14 lakes and relate to regulations for sunfish, crappie, largemouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, trout and walleye
Notable among these are reviews of walleye regulations on Namakan Reservoir lakes; northern pike regulations on Big Swan Lake in Todd County; trout regulations on Square Lake in Washington County and regulations on multiple species on four lakes in Otter Tail County. Also being discussed is a proposal for new regulations for multiple species on Lake La Salle, located within a new State Recreation Area in Hubbard County.
The goal of experimental and special regulations on individual waters is to expand opportunities for anglers to experience quality fishing that can be sustained in light of increasing angling pressure and improved angler efficiency. During the past 25 years, fisheries managers have monitored a variety of regulations across Minnesota.
“Much has been learned from our efforts to improve fish populations with length and bag limits,” said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries program consultant. “If experimental regulations are successful, then regulations can be replicated on similar waters where fisheries managers and anglers agree they would help improve or maintain quality fishing.”
Experimental regulations are in effect for a specific period of time, typically 10 years. Before the regulation ends, fish managers must evaluate the regulation and then gather input from public meetings to help determine whether to extend, modify or drop the existing experimental regulations.
“Fisheries managers welcome the opportunity to hear opinions from anglers,” Stevens said. “Public participation is critical in determining whether proposed and existing regulations are meeting angler expectations.”
Waters being evaluated this year were posted at public access points this past spring. Public notices for each meeting will be published in local newspapers. For more information about a specific meeting, check online or contact local DNR Fisheries offices.
Written or verbal comments also will be accepted at local fisheries offices up to 10 days following a local meeting. Telephone numbers and addresses of local fisheries offices can be found online or on page 86 of the 2012 Fishing Regulations.
For those unable to attend a local meeting, an open house will be held at the St. Paul DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No formal presentations will be made but fisheries staff will be available to take comments on any proposal. Comments will be accepted through Monday, Oct. 8, and also may be submitted by email to email@example.com or by calling 651-259-5239.
Open houses are scheduled for:
- Hubbard County: Lake La Salle (review new proposal for bass, panfish, walleye). 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13, at Fern Township Hall, which is three-fourths mile west of Becida on Hubbard County Road 9 near Becida.
- Otter Tail County: Annie Battle (review exiting regulation sunfish, crappie, largemouth bass, northern pike; and restrictions on use of electronics and motors). North and South Ten Mile (review existing regulation on bass). Norway (review existing regulation on panfish, largemouth bass, walleye, 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept 6, at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 1509 First Ave., in Fergus Falls. Big and Little Pine (review exiting regulation on walleye), 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Perham Community Center, 620 Third Ave., Perham.
- St. Louis County: Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, Crane and Little Vermilion (review existing regulation on walleye), 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25, Kabetogama Community Hall on St. Louis County Road 122 near Kabetogama.
- Todd County: Big Swan Lake (review existing regulation on northern pike), 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Bruno’s Hub Supper Club, 13905 Todd County Road 13, in Bertrum.
- Washington County: Square Lake (review existing regulation on trout and trout stocking), 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, Washington County Government Center, Lower Level Room #113, 14949 62nd St. N., Stillwater.