(Published in the Brainerd Dispatch, September 27, 2020, 1t.
(Published in the Brainerd Dispatch, September 27, 2020, 1t.)
DNR seeks comments on proposed Sunfish, Crappie, and Lake Trout regulations in Crow Wing County
September 27, 2020
Anglers should consider weighing in on proposed special fishing regulations that, if adopted, would become effective next year. Most of the proposed changes are aimed at protecting and improving bluegill and crappie sizes by lowering bag limits on nine waters in the Brainerd area.
The DNR launched an online presentation and comment opportunity for the bluegill initiative in May. Thus far, the DNR has received 2,500 comments through the online survey. Waters in the Brainerd area being considered for reduced daily limits of sunfish and crappies of five fish each are:
•Mississippi River from the Brainerd Dam upstream to Hw 6 including Rice and Little Rabbit lakes
•Upper and Lower Mission
•Whitefish Chain of Lakes including Lower Hay, Arrowhead, Bertha, Clamshell, Big Trout, Pig, Island-Loon, Rush-Hen, Cross Daggett, and Little Pine lakes
Hoping to invite conversation and reach a broad audience, the DNR will hold virtual town halls focusing on the bluegill initiative on Wednesday, October 7, 12-1 p.m (focused on Northeast Region) and Tuesday, October 13, 6-7 p.m (Statewide focus). Information on how Minnesotans can connect with these virtual town hall meetings will be available at mndnr.gov/sunfish.
Consistent with state law, the DNR will also host in-person open houses in each county where the proposed changes would apply. The DNR is making a number of changes to the in-person meeting format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who want to attend an in-person meeting, information can be found on the DNR's sunfish information page at mndnr.gov/sunfish or by contacting the Brainerd Fisheries office 218-203-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The open house for Crow Wing county proposals will be on Tuesday, October 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Northland Arboretum, 14250 Conservation Drive, Brainerd. No formal presentation will be made at the open houses but fisheries staff will be on hand to provide background information, answer questions, and take public input. The meeting will be held outside in a covered deck area and will be limited to 25 participants at any one time. Participants are encouraged to contact the Brainerd Fisheries office ahead of time to identify a preferred time slot.
Notification of the proposed changes to special fishing regulations have been posted at the accesses to each lake for most of the summer.
The current regulation sunfish regulation for the above lakes is a 20-fish possession limit and for crappies is a 10-fish possession limit. "This proposed five sunfish and five crappie limit is the same regulation that has been successful in four other area lakes," said Marc Bacigalupi, DNR Brainerd area fisheries supervisor. "We look forward to the opportunity to engage in dialogue with anglers and hear about their experiences. Public meetings provide an opportunity to exchange information and give us input that may not be represented in our surveys."
Other proposed regulation changes
Yawkey, Sagamore, and the connected Pennington-Mahnomen lakes, three mine pit lakes in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, have the potential to support naturally reproducing lake trout populations and a minimum length limit is proposed to help achieve that goal. The current lake trout regulation is 2 fish of any size. The proposed change to a limit of one fish with a 20-inch minimum size aims to protect fish until they reach spawning size. Stream trout regulations for rainbow, brook, and brown trout will remain the same.
Comments on these proposed regulations can also be mailed to Marc Bacigalupi, Area Fisheries Supervisor, DNR Brainerd Area Fisheries, 1601 Minnesota Drive, Brainerd, MN 56401, or sent by email to
email@example.com. Comments will be accepted through October 26.