Walleye overage can be paid back on Lake Mille Lacs

Lake Mille Lacs angler survey results show that state anglers have taken walleye at levels far enough under the state’s safe harvest allocation to pay back a harvest overage accumulated in 2016 and 2017, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The survey results through the end of August indicate catch rates were still quite good this summer, but were lower than last year.
DNR experts say the lower catch rates are consistent with reports from anglers of seeing more baitfish, as catch rates decline with increases in small-fish forage for bigger fish.
“It’s good news that walleye anglers had lots of success on Mille Lacs and that we were able to stay under the state’s allocation,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr.
The latest survey estimates include walleye harvested by state anglers in the winter, and in the summer those that died after being caught and released. This is a condition known as hooking mortality. During this time, anglers took 42,396 pounds of walleye.
Cooler water temperatures and the normal decline in fishing pressure that occur in the fall indicate that total kill for the year will likely remain under 50,000 pounds of walleye, well below the state’s safe harvest level allocation of 87,800 pounds.  
In 2016 and 2017, state anglers exceeded the allowable harvest by a combined 16,050 pounds and those overages needed to be accounted for in a future year. Since the 2018 state angler kill is well under the allowable harvest, the overage will be eliminated.
Walleye safe harvest level for Lake Mille Lacs is determined annually, based on population status, and predictions of how harvest will affect the walleye population in the future. The safe harvest level is divided between the 1837 Treaty Bands and state anglers. By agreement, the Bands and the state are required to monitor harvest by their members.
The DNR is conducting its standard fall fish community assessments through September. The DNR’s angler creel survey runs through Oct. 31. The agency will announce its winter walleye regulations in early November.
Angler survey results and more information about Lake Mille Lacs can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/millelacslake.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Minnesota DNR seeks public input about walleye regulations

Anglers interested in walleye fishing on Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, Crane and Little Vermilion lakes in northern St. Louis County are invited to participate in public meetings to review the current walleye regulation on these lakes that make up the Namakan Reservoir.
“These five lakes are popular fishing destinations. While each lake has had a different response to the current regulation, the fisheries are healthy overall,” said Kevin Peterson, International Falls area fisheries supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We want to be sure the public has plenty of opportunity to ask questions and participate in the discussion.”
There will be two meetings, each with a similar format: 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Kabetogama Community Center along County Road 122 in Kabetogama; and 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Crane Lake Fire Hall, 7400 Handberg Road in Crane Lake.
The DNR is presenting options to modify the current size and bag limit, and one option to extend the regulation as-is. The current regulation has been in place since 2007 and will expire on March 1, 2019. Input at the meetings will help determine if they are modified or extended to achieve fish management objectives.
The current experimental regulation for walleye requires the immediate release of walleye from 17 to 28 inches. One walleye more than 28 inches long is allowed in a possession limit of four walleye. Anglers are currently allowed four walleye in a combined limit of six walleye and sauger.
In addition to retaining the current regulation, another option under consideration would modify the protected slot to match the current Rainy Lake regulation of an 18-26 inch protected slot limit with one walleye over 26 inches. A third option could be to set a harvest slot that would not only protect a similar size range of larger fish as the protected slot, but also protect smaller fish from harvest. All options could be combined with a four-fish aggregate bag limit for walleye and sauger; a reduction of two sauger from the current limit.
“Angler preferences will have a great deal of influence over these regulations,” Peterson said. “At this point, we have some ideas of regulation options but input from the public will help us decide on the specifics.”
People unable to attend a meeting may submit written comments to the DNR area fisheries office, 392 Highway 11 East, International Falls, MN 56649; by phone at 218-286-5220; or via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All comments must be received by Monday, Oct. 15.
Anglers who can’t make the meetings in Kabetogama or Crane Lake can attend an open house about that and other regulation proposals 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 but staff will be available to take comments.
More information on fishing regulations can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/fishing.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Lake sturgeon hook and line season opens Sept. 1

MADISON - The hook and line season for lake sturgeon opens Sept. 1, and runs through Sept 30, on several major river stretches, giving anglers a chance to catch the fish of a lifetime.
Lake sturgeon can grow to more than 6 feet long and exceed 150 pounds, and the state record sturgeon taken by hook and line was a 170-pound, 10-ounce fish pulled from Yellow Lake in Burnett County in 1979.
All anglers fishing for lake sturgeon must have a valid Wisconsin hook and line fishing license, along with a sturgeon hook and line harvest tag if they intend to keep a sturgeon. The harvest tag is available throughout the season and costs $20 for residents and $50 for nonresidents.
Licenses and harvest tags are available for purchase online through GoWild.WI.gov and at any one of over 1,000 sales locations.
Find a list of harvest waters, harvest registration stations and instructions for properly tagging a harvested fish on the Lake Sturgeon Hook and Line Season web pages. Anglers also will find a list of other waters where catch and release seasons are underway, including on sections of the Mississippi, St. Croix, and St. Louis rivers.
Fisheries biologists report exciting opportunities on major river stretches open to harvest
Fisheries biologists who manage river stretches open for the hook and line harvest season say there will be exciting opportunities for both harvest and catch and release of lake sturgeon.
"Most anglers will continue to enjoy a mostly catch and release experience of undersized lake sturgeon on the Menominee River with a rare adult sturgeon over 60 inches," says Mike Donofrio, fisheries supervisor in Peshtigo.
Nate Nye, fisheries biologist stationed in Poynette, reports that populations of lake sturgeon in both Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River below Prairie du Sac Dam remain strong.
"Lake sturgeon smaller than 60 inches are relatively common (catch and release only). Fish larger than 60 inches are not uncommon, and anglers may even encounter the occasional fish larger than 70 inches in either population," he says.
Nye advises that anglers may experience greater success later in the season when water temperatures are cooler."
Joseph Gerbyshak, fisheries biologist based in Eau Claire, says that anglers will find a healthy sturgeon population to challenge them on the lower Chippewa River.
"The DNR fisheries crew out of Eau Claire handled 218 lake sturgeon during surveys this spring with the biggest being 68 inches and 81 pounds. Lake sturgeon harvest on the lower Chippewa River in 2017 was 17 fish, which is the second highest since the 60-inch minimum length limit was put in place a decade earlier."
Gerbyshak says the majority of fish harvested during the 2017 season were caught between Chippewa Falls Flowage Dam and the Dells Pond Dam. Anglers also reported catching numerous sublegal fish, a sign of a healthy sturgeon population. Night crawlers or cut bait presented in deep holes where there is current is a good combination for a successful sturgeon fishing trip, he says.
Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist based in Park Falls, reports that lake sturgeon populations in the Chippewa and Flambeau rivers are healthy and produce a good hook-and-line fishery. Sturgeon often congregate in the impoundments and tailwaters of the dams along these systems, where anglers can enjoy fast-action, catch-and-release fishing, or wait for an opportunity to harvest a legal-size fish.
In September 2017, anglers registered 12 sturgeon that measured at least 60 inches long, matching 2014 as the highest annual harvest in the Upper Chippewa Basin since more restrictive regulations took effect statewide in 2007, Scheirer says. Last season 10 sturgeon were taken from Flambeau River, one from the North Fork Flambeau, and one from the Chippewa River. The heaviest sturgeon weighed 58 pounds, and the longest sturgeon measured 65 inches. An average of about seven sturgeon are kept each season under the 60-inch limit, compared to about 72 sturgeon per year under the former 50-inch limit. As intended, the new rules dramatically reduced the harvest of females, allowing these late-maturing fish to reproduce more than once before reaching harvestable size.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Grass carp record changes hands in less than 3 hours

MADISON - State fish records have been falling fast this summer but none faster than for an invasive species shot with a bow and arrow and hauled from the Mississippi River.
Michael Mahnke of Waukesha shot a 38-1/4 inch, 34-pound, 7.2-ounce grass carp on Aug. 5 from the Mississippi River in Grant County. The fish broke the existing record by over a pound and a half.
The ink was barely dry on his record when two-and-a-half hours later Tim Hill of Lancaster shot a 40-3/4 inch, 39 pound grass carp the same day from the Mississippi River in Grant County. Hill's record bested Mahnke's record by about 4 1/2 pounds.
"I thought two and a half months was a short time to hold a record," says Karl Scheidegger, the fisheries biologist who has coordinated the state record fish program for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources since 1995, referring to a longnose gar record change from earlier this year. "But two-and-a-half hours? It's the shortest held record on record in Wisconsin."
Grass carp are an invasive species that were first introduced into southern states in the 1960s to control aquatic vegetation in fish farms and have since spread through accidental and illegal, intentional releases. Grass carp have the potential to seriously disrupt the food web, as they can consume considerable amounts of aquatic vegetation that other organisms rely on for food and cover.
The other state fish record was set in August, also in the alternate methods category and also eclipsing a recent state record. 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.
But Behrens' record was short-lived. Noah Renner of Mauston shot a 54-1/2 inch, 22-pound 12.8-ounce longnose gar on Aug. 4 from the Mississippi River in Vernon County. The fish broke Behrens's record by over three pounds.
See what other state fish records have been set in 2018 in DNR's three record categories: traditional, by weight category; alternative method; and live release.
Learn what steps to take if you think you have a state record catch. Go to dnr.wi.gov and search "record fish."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

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

La Crosse's Maglio wins BFL Great Lakes finale

TJ Maglio enjoyed a little home cooking on Sunday, winning the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division season finale on the Mississippi River in La Crosse.
Magio's two-day weight in the Angler Division was 31 pounds, 3 ounces, good enough for the $6,295 winner's check. Cade Laufenberg of Goodview, MN, finished second with 30-6 and $3,348.
La Crosse's Tom Monsoor, a 15-year veteran on the FLW Tour, finished sixth with 28-0. He collected $1,154.
Tom Rothering of Cochrane, WI, captured the Co-Angler Division with 24-4, collecting $3,148.


1. TJ MAGLIO, LA CROSSE, 15-14 (5), 15-5 (5) 31-3 (10) $6,295
2. CADE LAUFENBERG, GOODVIEW, MN, 14-2 (5), 16-4 (5), 30-6 (10) $3,348
3. CURTIS SAMO, ROCHELLE, IL, 15-0 (5), 14-5 (5), 29-5 (10) $2,096
4. MIKE BRUEGGEN, LA CROSSE, 16-1 (5), 13-3 (5), 29-4 (10) $1,469
5. JEFF RITTER, PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WI, 15-15 (5), 12-2 (5), 28 - 1 (10) $1,359
6. TOM MONSOOR, LA CROSSE, 15-14 (5), 12-2 (5), 28-0 (10), $1,154
7. DEVIN TEIGEN, EAU CLAIRE, WI, 15-3 (5), 12-4 (5), 27-7 (10) $1,049
8. MARK MYERS, CEDAR FALLS, IA, 13-1 (5), 14-3 (5), 27-4 (10) $944
9. KYLE VON RUDEN, STODDARD, WI, 13-2 (5), 13-12 (5), 26-14 (10) $839
10. JOHN ENGLER, VINTON, IA, 12-5 (5), 14-5 (5), 26-10 (10) $734

1. TOM ROTHERING, COCHRANE, WI, 11-13 (4), 12-7 (5), 24-4 (9) $3,148
2. NATHAN HUSS, ELKHART LAKE, WI, 13-1 (5), 9-13 (3), 22-14 (8) $1,574
3. PELLI LEE, LA CROSSE, 14-8 (5), 7-0 (4), 21-8 (9) $1,050
4. JASON SWANSON, WATERLOO, IA,    9-13 (5), 10-11 (5), 20-8 (10) $934
5. JOSH MOHN, LANSING, IA, 11-8 (5), 8-13 (4), 20-5 (9) $630
6. MATT KNOX, METAMORA, IL, 13-6 (5),    6-9 (3), 19-15 (8) $577
7. ALAN BERNICKY, JOLIET, IL, 14-4 (5), 3-13 (2), 18-1 (7) $575
8. RICK RAGNER, LA CROSSE, 13-13 (5), 3-4 (1), 17-1 (6) $472
9. ARDEN DAMBERG, WHEATLAND, IA, 11-10 (5), 4-5 (2), 15-15 (7) $420
10. KRISTIAN DUS, CHICAGO, IL, 9-10 (4), 6-1 (3), 15-11 (7) $367

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