DNR seeks citizen input on Lake of the Woods, Rainy River regulation changes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will seek public input this fall on two proposed regulation changes on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River that would take effect on March 1, 2019. Public comments will be solicited at an open house held from 6 to 9 p.m. at Lake of the Woods School Monday, Oct. 8.
The current winter regulation on Lake of the Woods allows anglers to keep eight walleye and sauger, with no more than four walleye. There is a protected slot limit requiring anglers to immediately release any walleye between 19.5 and 28 inches, with only one fish over 28 inches allowed in possession.
The proposed winter regulations would match the current summer regulations on Lake of the Woods, reducing the aggregate walleye and sauger limit to six, with no more than four walleye. The protected slot limited would remain in effect.
“Expanding winter pressure has resulted in sauger harvest exceeding management objectives with 80 percent of the sauger harvest coming in the winter season,” said Phil Talmage, DNR Baudette area fisheries supervisor.  
The current Rainy River spring season regulation allows anglers to keep two walleye or sauger, and requires the immediate release of walleye 19.5 inches in length or greater.
The proposed regulation change is a catch and release season that would take effect March 1 - April 14 on the Rainy River and Fourmile Bay. Increasing pressure and harvest focused on pre-spawn male Walleye have impacted the spawning population in the Rainy River.
This regulation would maintain the spring sport fishery while protecting the long-term sustainability of the Rainy River spawning population and reduce the overall harvest of walleye from the Lake of the Woods-Rainy River system.
“Walleye and sauger populations on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River are doing well, but  increasing fishing pressure has resulted in increased harvest and stress on the fishery,”  said Talmage. “These regulations are intended to be a proactive approach to ensure the high quality fishery that anglers have come to expect from the border water region.”
Following the meeting, comments will be accepted through Oct. 18. Those not attending the meeting can provide comments by calling the Baudette area fisheries office at 218-634-2522 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Metro anglers can also provide comments in person to Al Stevens at the DNR Office in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road, on Sept. 26.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR seeks input on Leech Lake proposed walleye regulation change

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will seek public input this fall on a proposed walleye regulation change on Leech Lake that would take effect at the start of the 2019 open water fishing season.
Public comments will be solicited at an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Walker Area Community Center, Monday, Sept. 24.
The current walleye regulation on Leech Lake is four fish, requiring the immediate release of any walleye that are within a 20 to 26-inch protected slot limit. Only one fish over 26 inches allowed in possession. The four-fish walleye possession limit on Leech Lake has been in effect since 2005.
“The regulation was initially put in place to help protect spawning fish,” said Doug Schultz, DNR Walker area fisheries supervisor. “Regulation goals have been exceeded, prompting the DNR to propose increased harvest opportunity at this time.”
The proposed regulation change would remove the 20 to 26-inch protected slot and replace it with a regulation similar to the statewide regulation, but with a four fish walleye limit, only one of which can be over 20 inches.
According to Carl Pedersen, the DNR large lake specialist on Leech Lake, the walleye population is in excellent condition at this time and can afford some additional harvest.
“We have an abundant population of spawning age fish with a wide distribution of sizes, and multiple year classes of smaller fish entering the fishery,” said Pedersen. “Protective fishing regulations combined with very consistent production of year classes over the past 10 years have put us in a very good position.”
When future fisheries assessments indicate harvest should be reduced, the DNR anticipates revisiting the protected slot limit at that time.
Following the meeting, comments will be accepted through Oct. 5. Those unable to attend the meeting can provide comments by calling the Walker area fisheries office at 218-547-1683 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Metro anglers can also provide comments in person to Al Stevens at the DNR Office in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road, on Sept. 26.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Public invited to comment on special fishing regulations

During a series of public meetings, anglers and others can give their opinions about fishing regulations that are in place or are newly proposed for 15 lakes and one trout stream, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR has scheduled 13 meetings across the state in coming weeks to review regulations that apply to individual waters, and the DNR also is accepting written and verbal public comments on the regulations before and 10 days after each meeting.    
Highlights of topics being covered include proposals to modify existing special walleye regulations on Leech Lake, walleye and sauger regulations on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River, northern pike regulations on Lake Vermilion, and a review of experimental walleye regulations on Kabetogama, Namakan, Crane and Little Vermilion lakes.
“Anglers and the public should know they have an important role to play in shaping fishing regulations, and we value their opinions,” said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries regulations consultant. “In the end we all want to make sure anglers continue to have quality fishing in Minnesota.”
In many places, statewide regulations, such as bag limits, do an adequate job in providing opportunities to catch quality-sized fish. However, special regulations are a more specific tool that fish managers can use to ensure there are local opportunities for quality fishing. Special or experimental regulations are found in their own section of the 2018 Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook (pages 38 to 54).

Meeting details
* Cass County (Walker area fisheries): Review special walleye regulations on Leech Lake, 6-8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, Walker Community Center, Walker.
* Fillmore County (Lanesboro area fisheries): Review a proposal for special trout regulations on Rush Creek within the city of Rushford, 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, Rushford City Hall, 101 N. Mill St., Rushford.
* Hubbard County (Park Rapids area fisheries): Review a proposal for sunfish and crappie regulations on 5th and 6th Crow Wing lakes, 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, Community Meeting Room at Northwoods Bank, Park Rapids.
* Lake of the Woods and Koochiching counties (Baudette area fisheries): Review of the special walleye and sauger regulations on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River, 6-9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, Lake of the Woods High School, Baudette.
* Meeker County (Hutchinson area fisheries): Review of the special northern pike regulation on Minnie-Belle Lake, 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, Meeker County Courthouse, 325 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield.
* Pine County (Hinckley area fisheries): Review of the special northern pike regulation on Sturgeon Lake, 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, YMCA Camp Miller in Mitchell Lodge, 89382 E. Frontage Road, Sturgeon Lake.
* St. Louis County (Tower area fisheries): Review of the special northern pike regulation on Lake Vermilion, 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, Tower Civic Center, 402 Pine St., Tower.
* St. Louis County (International Falls area fisheries): Review of the special walleye regulations on Namkan Reservoir (Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, Crane and Little Vermilion lakes), 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, Kabetogama Community Center, 9707 Gamma Road, Kabetogama. Also, 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, Crane Lake Fire Hall, 7400 Handberg Road, Crane Lake.
* South Dakota border waters (Ortonville area fisheries): Hendricks Lake in Lincoln County, Big Stone Lake in Big Stone County, Traverse Lake in Traverse County, Bois de Sioux River to the North Dakota Border in Traverse County and Mustinka River from its mouth to the State Highway 117 Bridge; discuss removing an unneeded, duplicate special regulation governing taking of walleye, crappie and sunfish on the Minnesota-South Dakota border waters and clarifying the one-over-20 inch rule for possession of walleye; 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, DNR fisheries office, 890 Pine Ave., Ortonville.
* Stearns County (Sauk Rapids fisheries area): Review of the experimental northern pike regulation on Pearl Lake and the special regulation for northern pike on Big Fish Lake. Pearl Lake meeting is 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, Holy Cross Catholic School, 10672 County Road 8, Kimball; Big Fish Lake meeting is 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, Collegeville Township Hall, 27724 County Road 50, Cold Spring.
* Wright County (Sauk Rapids area fisheries): Review of the experimental northern pike regulations on East and West Sylvia lakes, 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, Southside Township Hall, 8209 County Road 3, Annandale.
Call or write to local fisheries offices to comment about regulations proposals. Phone numbers of local fisheries offices can be found online at mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries, or on page 87 of the fishing regulations handbook. The offices will accept written or verbal comments up to 10 days following a local meeting.
Anyone who cannot attend a local meeting can attend an open house about the regulation proposals that will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the DNR headquarters in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road. No formal presentations will be made at the open house.
Additionally, staff will accept comments on any proposal through Monday, Oct. 8. Comment by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling him at 651-259-5239.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Try these bassin' basics for success during dog days of summer

ALMA, WI - While longtime Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Brian Brecka takes pride in being a multispecies angler, he typically finds time to catch a bass or two on each of his angling outings.
"Wisconsin boasts largemouth and smallmouth bass fisheries that are passionately supported by droves of today's anglers," says Brecka.
A recent Wisconsin angler diary study found bass fishing to be similar in popularity compared to walleye fishing during the spring and summer months. The study found only panfishing, the pursuit of bluegill, crappie and perch, to be more popular during the May-September period.
"There's good reason for the popularity of largemouth and smallmouth bass," Brecka says. Bucketmouths and smallies together are the most widely distributed recreational fish in the state - found within inland lakes, cool and warm water streams, large rivers and the Great Lakes.
"No matter where you live in Wisconsin, you're within a short drive of quality bass fishing," Brecka says. "While many of our higher quality bass fisheries are smaller in size and don't reach national notoriety, waterbodies such as Sturgeon Bay and the Mississippi River are consistently highly ranked as top bass fisheries in the nation."
One more reason bass are boss are their accessibility from the shore.
"If you're thinking you can't fish bass without a fancy boat and a dozen rods, think again," Brecka says. "They can be caught from shore, by wading, by canoe or kayak, or from a float tube or your grandfather's 14-foot flat bottom boat."
No matter how you plan to fish, Brecka shares his bass fishing basics, updated from a 2002 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine article he wrote with Ken Snow.
He encourages anglers to learning more about bass life history, behavior, seasonal movements and fishing patterns to increase their chances of success.
"But book learning cannot replace the benefits of spending time on the water 'reading' the situation, adapting to changing conditions, getting in tune with your quarry and enjoying some time outdoors," he says.
For a line on places to fish for bass, check out the 2018 Wisconsin Fishing Report forecasts for largemouth bass [PDF] and smallmouth bass.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Lake Michigan stocking plan paying off for anglers

MADISON, WI - Lake Michigan boat anglers report catching good numbers of salmon and trout this summer and the Department of Natural Resources has finished its first full year of implementing a new and enhanced stocking strategy to assure strong fish populations and fishing into the future.
"We're happy to see boat anglers are reporting good harvests of fish this year," says Brad Eggold, DNR Great Lakes District fisheries supervisor. "Fish caught this year are large and in good condition. This indicates that the stocking adjustments that Wisconsin and other agencies have made appear to be paying off, and we're excited about what future years will bring.
"The hard work of our hatchery staff has allowed us to fully implement the first year of the enhanced stocking plan, we've strengthened partnerships with stakeholders, and we've secured funding for a hatchery renovation. All of these will help us provide fantastic fishing on Lake Michigan into the future."
The Lake Michigan stocking strategy was developed over more than two years with discussion and input from more than 500 anglers, business owners and other stakeholders. This spring, the DNR started carrying out that plan resulting in:
* Stocking Lake Michigan with chinook and coho salmon and brown and rainbow trout under the new 2018-2020 management plan.
* Stocking Skamania steelhead for the first time in a decade, as shown in the video below.
* Expanding efforts with fishing clubs to place stocked fish in pens in Lake Michigan to get acclimatized and grow bigger before they're released.
As well, the DNR secured approval in June from the state Building Commission to go ahead with final design phases for an updated Kettle Moraine Springs Fish Hatchery. At 70 years old, the facility has reached its useful lifetime and plans call for major improvements to the hatchery that will allow production of more fish for stocking in Lake Michigan with less groundwater and energy use and better conditions for fish and staff. The request for proposals to refurbish the hatchery are expected to go out this winter, with construction beginning shortly thereafter
In addition, the DNR is embarking on a public-private partnership with Coolidge Springs Trout Farm in Fifield, WI, to raise 50,000 steelhead annually to meet the stocking plan for the next three years.
For more information on Lake Michigan fishing, visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search "Lake Michigan fisheries."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR finalizes Lake Vermilion management plan

A plan that covers how fish populations will be managed in Lake Vermilion through 2022 has been finalized by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Public input resulted in slight changes to the final plan including new stocking guidelines for muskie, a planned evaluation of the current northern pike special regulation and adjustments to fish survey methods including the timing of fish sampling.
The plan retains the walleye regulation implemented in May 2017, and is more specific than the previous plan about management goals, objectives and activities for individual fish species.
“Lake Vermilion is well loved by anglers, visitors and area residents,” said Edie Evarts, Tower area fisheries supervisor. “Thank you to everyone who has contributed their time and input to the management plan for this popular, multi-species fishery.”
The plan was developed in partnership with the Lake Vermilion Fisheries Input Group comprised of a diverse group of people interested in Lake Vermilion fish management representing local, statewide and tribal perspectives. The group worked with the DNR from early stages of plan development to reviewing its final version.  
The planned evaluation of the current northern pike special regulation is underway, including a proposal to simplify pike regulations by bringing them in line with the new statewide zone regulation starting in May 2019. A public open house on that topic is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, at the Tower Civic Center, 402 Pine St., in Tower. Questions or comments may be directed to the Tower area fisheries office, 650 Highway 169, Tower, MN 55790, by calling 218-300-7803, or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., through Wednesday, Sept. 26.
The plan and more information are available at mndnr.gov/lakevermilion.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Anglers reel in stringer of fish records so far

MADISON, WI - Brenda Carter is the state's newest state fish record holder, but the lifelong angler is finding the honor a tad bittersweet: she broke the catch and release record for pumpkinseed set a year ago by her daughter, Erika Carter.
"You never plan to catch something that big," she says. "It's a gift.
"That record was not something that was a goal for me. Erika goes to UW-Stevens Point for fisheries and she was very excited to have set the record."
Yet when mother and daughter were fishing July 3, on Lake Noquebay in Marinette County and mom hauled in the 9-inch pumpkinseed, Erika was the one encouraging her mother to see if it was a record fish.
"She was looking up record requirements online while I was measuring the fish," Brenda Carter says.
"We thought we had to beat the record by one-half inch, but Erika saw we only needed to beat it by one-quarter inch, and my fish did. She encouraged me to fill out the paperwork and send it in to get the record."
The Carters caught their two record pumpkinseeds on the same water, where the family owns a cabin, a year and a day apart. Brenda was fishing with Erika in 2017 when she caught her record pumpkinseed.
"It was one of those weird things," Brenda Carter says.
"My daughter says (her mom setting the new fish record) gives her a goal to shoot for. It could be by the end of the summer. We hope to catch a bigger one someday!"

A stringer full of fish records so far in 2018
With a new live release state fish records program and a growing number of anglers fishing using alternate methods like a bow and arrow, anglers are reeling in a string of state fish records in 2018, says Karl Scheidegger, the fisheries biologist who coordinates the state record fish programs.
The state fish records and their new owners are listed. To see more state fish records and to learn what to do if you think you've caught a record fish, go to dnr.wi.gov and search "record fish."

2018 Live Release records
* Todd Meerdink of Waupaca caught and released a 18-1/2-inch white bass on Feb. 10, from Sunset Lake in Waupaca County. This was the second time the white bass live release record has been broken over the past year.
* Michael Esche of Cudahy caught and released an 11-inch bluegill on Feb. 28, from the Mississippi River in Crawford County. The fish bettered the existing record by a half-inch.
* Scott Erickson of Burlington caught and released a 23-1/2-inch rainbow trout on March 31, from a private farm pond in Racine County.
* Alex Gerucisi caught and released an 8-1/2-inch green sunfish on May 24, from an urban pond in Waukesha County.

2018 By Weight records (hook and line)
* Gregory Banbenek of Duluth, MN, caught an 11-3/4-inch, 3/4-pound creek chub on Jan. 1, from Amnicon Lake in Douglas County, bettering the existing record by a little over 2 ounces.
* Stanley Von Ruden of Norwalk set the initial record for a spotted sucker on Feb. 22, with a 20-1/2-inch, 4-pound, 10.2-ounce fish caught from Lake Onalaska in La Crosse County.
* Scott Erickson of Burlington bettered the existing tiger trout record by a little over a quarter of a pound on May 9, when he stumbled on a 16-inch, 2-pound, 1-ounce fish from a private pond in Racine County.

2018 By Weight records (alternate method)
* Brandon Smith of Elkhorn bettered the existing white sucker record by almost two pounds when he shot a 24-1/2-inch, 6-pound 15.8-ounce fish on March 15, from Delavan Lake in Walworth County.
* Records are meant to be broken. Ross Lubner of Campbellsport quickly surpassed the Smith fish by almost half a pound when he shot a 24-1/2-inch, 7-pound, 6.7-ounce white sucker a month later on April 21, from Pine Lake in Waukesha County.
* It's déjà vu all over again. Dale Fahrni shot a 22-inch, 5-pound, 6.7-ounce spotted sucker on April 21, from the Wisconsin River in Richland County that bettered his own record by almost half a pound set three years earlier.
* Shawn Schmidt of Denmark set the initial record for a longnose sucker when he used a spear gun to shoot a 21-1/4-inch, 3-pound 9.9-ounce fish on April 29, from Lake Michigan in Door County.
* Brian Thompson of Newburg, MO, shot a 35-5/8-inch, 5-pound, 1-ounce shortnose gar on May 27, from Lake Butte des Morts in Winnebago County that bested the existing record by almost half a pound.
* Jason Behrens of Arcadia shot a 56-1/8-inch, 19-pound, 5.4-ounce longnose gar on May 24, from the Mississippi River in Trempealeau County. The fish broke the current record by almost a pound.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR