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Outdoor Notes

DNR announces new special angling regulations

Trout anglers have all the more reason to visit Chatfield, Lanesboro, Preston and Spring Valley in southeastern Minnesota thanks to a change that effectively allows trout fishing all year long in these cities, according to the Minnesota DNR.

The change allows catch-and-release trout fishing in the fall in these cities, which means anglers can either catch and release, or catch and keep trout depending on the time of year, on the South Branch Root River in Preston and Lanesboro; Mill Creek in Chatfield; and Spring Valley Creek in Spring Valley.

The change is one among several to fishing regulations that are specific to individual waters and go into effect March 1. Following public review that wrapped up this past fall, fishing regulations will change on six lakes and three streams starting in March, while existing regulations on three lakes will become permanent and a regulation on one lake will be extended.

These changes include new regulations that have not yet been in effect; regulations that have been in effect but will be modified or dropped; and regulations turning permanent that were reviewed and will now be in effect indefinitely.

Regulations that are specific to individual waters take precedence over statewide regulations. Special regulations can be found in their own section of the Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet, at using LakeFinder, and posted at public accesses.

Modified regulations

Lake Vermilion (St. Louis County): Anglers on Lake Vermilion will be able to keep walleye up to 20 inches long, with one allowed over 26 inches, starting with the May fishing opener. The new regulation will require release of all fish from 20 to 26 inches with only one allowed over 26 inches. The four-fish bag limit will remain the same.

New regulations

Little Webb Lake, Moccasin Lake and Lake Thirteen (Cass County): Five-fish bag limits on sunfish and on black crappie on Little Webb and Moccasin lakes, and a bag limit of five on sunfish for Lake Thirteen, are being adopted and will be reviewed after 10 years to evaluate how well they maintain quality sunfish and crappie for anglers.

Regulations turning permanent

Carnelian Lake and Pleasant Lake (Stearns County): Experimental regulations on sunfish that have been in effect since 2007 will become permanent. A reduced bag limit of five sunfish were shown to have effectively maintained quality populations of sunfish.

• Sugar Lake (Wright County): Northern pike and black crappie experimental regulations that have been in effect since 2007 have shown to improve the sizes of northern pike and crappie and will become permanent.

Dropped regulations

Bowstring and Round lakes and connected waters (Itasca County): Experimental regulations on northern pike will be dropped and return to the statewide regulation. The regulation objective to encourage harvest of abundant small pike will likely be achieved by the new northern pike zone regulation set to be adopted in the spring.

Continuing experimental regulations

Sand Lake and connected waters (Itasca County): Implemented with regulations on Bowstring and Round lakes, the experimental regulations on northern pike will be continued for one year, allowing additional time to collect survey data in 2017 before making a final decision on retaining or dropping next fall.

Vermilion walleye regulation to change

Anglers on Lake Vermilion in northeastern Minnesota will be able to keep walleye up to 20 inches long, with one allowed over 26 inches, starting with the May fishing opener, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The new regulation will require release of walleye from 20 to 26 inches, a change that is less restrictive compared to the current regulation that requires release of walleye from 18 to 26 inches. The four fish bag limit will remain the same.

The DNR considered and modeled several options for the regulation change, and sought opinions from the public, as well as from the Lake Vermilion Fisheries Input Group that represents lake and statewide interests.

The group generally was in favor of a regulation change although had no majority opinion on a specific regulation. The broader public also had a range of preferences, with two-thirds supporting a regulation change and one third preferring no change.

The DNR chose the 20-to-26 inch protected slot because it has a lower risk of harvesting too many fish and is in line with public input indicating a preference for less risk.

Apply to learn how to hunt turkeys with a mentor in April

Youth and adults can apply through Monday, Feb. 13, to hunt turkeys for the first time under the guidance of experienced National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) volunteers. New this year, the adult and youth hunts are all on the same weekend.

Hunts are Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23, and a pre-hunt orientation is required. The cost of the orientation ranges from $5 to $10, and hunting licenses cost $1 for 12 year olds; $6 for ages 13 through 17; and $27 for hunters 18 and older. All participants will need to have a valid firearms safety certificate or its equivalent and youth must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

"This is the 15th year the DNR and NWTF have cooperated for these mentored hunts, and more than 5,000 youth and adults have been a part of the learning experience," Kurre said. "New this year, we're working with the Minnesota National Guard to introduce military adults and their families to turkey hunting."

Applications and details about how to apply are available on the DNR's website at

Overall participation in the hunts is restricted by the number of volunteers and private lands that are available. Anyone interested in providing turkey hunting land for the mentored youth hunts should contact the Minnesota NWTF Save the Habitat Save the Hunt Coordinator Keith Carlson