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DNR invites public to comment on proposed special fishing regulations

Anglers and others can give their opinions about fishing regulations that are in place or are newly proposed on 16 lakes and two river segments.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has scheduled 13 public meetings across the state in coming weeks to review regulations, and the DNR is also accepting written and verbal public comments on the regulations before and 10 days after each meeting.

The meetings will include:

  • Review of the walleye regulation on Lake Winnibigoshish.
  • Review of the existing panfish, bass or walleye regulations on Pimushe, Star, Clitherall, Jewett, Pickerel, Sewell, Cottonwood and Big Mantrap lakes and the Mississippi River near Winona.
  • Review of the existing northern pike regulation on Big Birch Lake in Todd County.
  • Review the existing lake trout regulation on Lake Mukooda and a proposal for similar regulations in Little Trout Lake, both in Voyageurs National Park.
  • Discussion of a proposal for new walleye regulations for Saganaga, Sea Gull and Gull lakes near Grand Marais.
  • Discussion of a proposal for new catfish regulations for the Sauk River chain of lakes in Stearns County.
  • Review of a proposal for new bass regulations on Lake George in Hubbard County.

“The goal of experimental and special regulations on individual waters is to expand opportunities for anglers to experience quality fishing,” said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries program consultant. “We also need to sustain good fishing in light of more people fishing, and anglers who are catching more fish.”

During the past 30 years, fisheries managers have monitored a variety of regulations across Minnesota and learned much from efforts to improve fish populations using regulations that limit the length and number of fish anglers can keep.

“We have shown that we can sustain quality populations of panfish, northern pike, bass and walleye by using special regulations,” said Don Pereira, DNR fisheries section chief. “And 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 to 15 years. Before the regulation ends, fisheries 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.

“Public participation is critical in determining whether proposed and existing regulations are meeting angler expectations,” Stevens said. “DNR fisheries managers welcome the chance to hear opinions from anglers.”

In the spring of 2014, signs were posted at public access points at waters that will be evaluated this year. Public notices for each meeting will be published in local newspapers. For more information about a specific meeting, check online at

Open house details Written or verbal comments also will be accepted at local fisheries offices up to 10 days following a local meeting. Telephone numbers of local fisheries offices can be found online at, or on page 85 of the 2014 Fishing Regulations handbook.

For those unable to attend a local meeting, there will be an open house at the St. Paul DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24. No formal presentations will be made. However, staff will be available to take comments on any proposal. Comments will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 3, and may also be submitted by email to or by calling 651-259-5239.

Open house details include:

  • Cook County, discussion of implementing new restrictions on walleye for Saganaga, Sea Gull and Gull lakes, and the Sea Gull River, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, in the Cook County Community Center, 317 W. Fifth St. in Grand Marais.
  • Beltrami County, the existing bag limit on bluegill in Pimushe Lake will be reviewed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, at Northwest Technical College, 905 Grant Ave. SE. in Bemidji.
  • Grant County, the existing regulations on sunfish and walleye in Cottonwood Lake will be discussed at a meeting 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, in the Donnelly city hall.
  • Hubbard County, a review of the existing regulation on crappie in Big Mantrap Lake and a review of a proposal for a bass slot limit for Lake George will be discussed from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, in the community meeting room at Northwoods Bank in Park Rapids.
  • Itasca County, the existing walleye slot regulation on Lake Winnibigoshish will be discussed at a meeting this October. Look for upcoming announcements for details on place and time.
  • Otter Tail County, existing sunfish regulations on Star Lake and bass regulations on Clitherall, Jewett, Pickerel and Sewell lakes will be discussed at two meetings. The first will be 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, at the DNR headquarters, 1509 First Ave. N., in Fergus Falls. The second meeting will be held 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at the Lakes Area Community center, 112 W. Main St. in Battle Lake.
  • St. Louis County, the existing catch-and-release regulation on lake trout in Mukooda Lake and a proposal to add the same regulation on Little Trout Lake, both in Voyageurs National Park, will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the Crane Lake Fire Hall, 7400 Handberg Road in Crane Lake.
  • Stearns County, a proposal to expand the bag limit for channel catfish regulations on the Sauk River Chain of Lakes will be reviewed on 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Cold Spring city offices, 27 Red River Ave. S. in Cold Spring.
  • Todd and Stearns counties, the existing regulation on northern pike in Big Birch Lake will be reviewed at a meeting 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 23 at Linda B’s restaurant, 41947 County Road 167 in Freeport.
  • Wabasha, Winona counties, the existing bag limit for sunfish on Mississippi River pools 5, 5a, and 8 will be discussed at an October meeting. Look for upcoming announcements for details on place and time.