Input sought on Minnesota-Wisconsin border waters fishing changes

For the first time in nearly 70 years, Minnesota and Wisconsin are proposing notable changes to border waters fishing regulations - and the Minnesota DNR wants the public to weigh in on them.
“We wholeheartedly welcome public input,” said Kevin Stauffer, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Lake City. “The proposed regulations are intended to help sustain high quality fish populations and the great fishing opportunities these Mississippi River border waters offer.”
The proposed rules, which are available on the DNR’s website, would lower possession limits, and change some length limits, for walleye and sauger, northern pike, channel and flathead catfish, shovelnose sturgeon, crappie, sunfish, yellow perch, and white and yellow bass in the Mississippi River, including Lake Pepin. Some examples include:
* Walleye and sauger limit to decrease from 6 to 4.
* Crappie, sunfish and yellow perch limit to decrease from 25 to 15 each.
* White and yellow bass limit to decrease from 25 to 10.
The proposed changes are proactive measures that would help both states manage the effects that changing river conditions, invasive species and angling effectiveness have on fish.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has proposed identical changes.
With the exception of minimum size limits for bass (14 inches) and walleye (15 inches) implemented in 1990, possession and size restrictions for gamefish on the Minnesota and Wisconsin border waters of the Mississippi River have been largely unchanged for the last seven decades. The current proposed changes to bag and size limits for most gamefish species were developed from biological data and input obtained from public meetings in May and November of 2018.
The Minnesota DNR is accepting public comments through Friday, Oct. 4. The DNR is using an expedited rule-making procedure to make these changes effective by March 2020. Wisconsin intends to make its corresponding rule changes at this same time.
Comments must be in writing and submitted to Shannon Fisher, Division of Fish and Wildlife, MN DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155, or emailed to him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Questions also should be directed to Fisher.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Sparta angler wins BFL tourney in La Crosse

Fernando Lobato of Sparta, WI, captured the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League season-ending tournament on the Mississippi River in La Crosse last weekend.
Lobato hauled in a two-day limit totaling 31 pounds, 2 ounces and collected $5,316 to pace the Angler Division. Cade Laufenberg of Goodview, MN, finished runner-up with 29-5 and earned $2,858. La Crosse FLW Tour pro Tom Monsoor finished 24th with 11-9.
Jason Agpalza, from Rock Island, IL, dominated the Co-Angler Division with 25-8 and won $2,758.

T-H MARINE BASS FISHING LEAGUE TOURNAMENT

On Mississippi River
In La Crosse, WI

Sept. 7-8 Results

ANGLER DIVISION
1. FERNANDO LOBATO, SPARTA, WI 15-9 (5) 15-9 (5) 31-2 $5,316
2. CADE LAUFENBERG, GOODVIEW, MN 16-7 (5) 12-14 (5) 29-5 $2,858
3. KYLER CHELMINIAK, SULLIVAN, WI 13-8 (5) 15-8 (5) 29-0 $2,074
4. TRAVIS BRUEGGEN, CASHTON, WI 16-2 (5) 12-1 (5) 28-3 $1,240
5. MIKE BRUEGGEN, LA CROSSE 15-7 (5) 12-11 (5) 28-2 $1,746
6. BRANDON GANN, SPARTA, WI 12-14 (5) 14-6 (5) 27-4 $975
7. GLENN WALKER, SAVAGE, MN 12-5 (5) 14-0 (5) 26-5 $886
8. DOUGLAS CHAPIN, GREEN BAY, WI 14-8 (5) 11-12 (5) 26-4 $797
9. ANTHONY GETCHELL, MENOMINEE, MI 12-15 (5) 13-2 (5) 26-1 $709
10. KEVIN JOHNSON, SPARTA, WI 13-7 (5) 12-7 (5) 25-14 $620

CO-ANGLER DIVISION
1. JASON AGPALZA, ROCK ISLAND, IL 5-11 (5) 9-13 (5) 25-8 $2,758
2. KRISTIAN DUS, CHICAGO, IL 11-12 (5) 9-1 (5) 20-13 $1,479
3. ALAN BERNICKY, JOLIET, IL 8-7 (4) 12-4 (5) 20-11 $1,036
4. JESSIE POLLARD, WHITEHALL, WI 9-14 (5) 8-15 (5) 18-13 $620
5. BRENT SCHROEDER, CALEDONIA, MN 11-8 (5) 6-1 (3) 17-9 $532
6. JEFF PFEFFER, ISANTI, MN 11-14 (5) 5-8 (3) 17-6 $487
7. RICK RAGNER, LA CROSSE 11-4 (5) 6-2 (3) 17-6 $443
8. PAUL AMBROSE, LA CROSSE 9-11 (5) 7-1 (3) 16-12 $399
9. JEREMY PARKER, BATAVIA, IL 9-12 (5) 6-0 (3) 15-12 $354
10. TROY KARAFA, HEBRON, IL 9-10 (4) 5-14 (3) 15-8 $310   

Lake Superior permanent rule hearing scheduled Sept. 4

ASHLAND, WI - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing to gather input on proposed permanent rules affecting Lake Superior commercial fishing regulations.
The hearing is Sept. 4, at 6 p.m. at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, 29270 County Highway G in Ashland.
This permanent rule follows an emergency rule that became effective in March 2019. Both rules implement the 2018-2028 Lake Superior Fishing Agreement by updating the total allowable commercial harvest for lake trout. It also revises the requirements for using and marking nets and other gear, modifies certain areas in which commercial fishing is allowed, and makes minor revisions to harvest reporting requirements and the timeframe for returning unused trout tags. The rule will not modify hook and line fishing regulations.
"By carrying out the Lake Superior Fishing Agreement, this rule will help ensure the sustainability of important Lake Superior commercial fisheries--especially lake trout and whitefish--for commercial, tribal and recreational fishers," said Brad Ray, DNR Lake Superior team supervisor.
Those unable to attend the hearing may also submit written comments on the rule and its impacts through Sept. 9, to Meredith Penthorn, DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management FH/4, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
For more information on the rule, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "proposed permanent rules." To learn more about Lake Superior fisheries management, search keywords "Lake Superior fisheries management."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Draft plan for Lake Superior fishery available for public comment

ASHLAND, WI - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff will hold two public meetings to discuss an updated Lake Superior fisheries management plan.
The meetings are at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16, at the Peter Rich Community Center, 1201 N 8th St. Superior, and at 6 p.m., on Sept. 17, at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, 29270 County Highway G, Ashland.
At these meetings, department staff will present the draft Lake Superior Fisheries Management Plan, which has been developed over the last two years with significant input from stakeholders and a 26-member advisory panel. Attendees at these meetings also have an opportunity to provide comments on the plan. In conjunction with these meetings, there will be a 30-day comment period on the plan.
"The previous Lake Superior fisheries management plan is 30 years old," said Bradley Ray, DNR fisheries supervisor. "This meeting is the culmination of two years of effort by the Lake Superior Fisheries Team, the 26 members of the Lake Superior Management Plan Advisory Panel, and numerous other stakeholders to update the Plan. We are excited to unveil this draft of the Plan for more public input."
The fisheries management plan provides a broad overview of fisheries and fish communities of Lake Superior and establishes objectives for future management. The management plan incorporates input from diverse stakeholders including representatives from sport, commercial, and tribal fisheries, conservation groups, academia, tourism, and land and water conservation groups.
"Lake Superior is a shared fishery, and we have endeavored to take all interests into account in the development of this plan. The plan allows the department to implement existing effective management strategies and to direct future adaptive management strategies for Lake Superior. We look forward to sharing the draft plan with our stakeholders allowing them to have another chance to be involved in the direction of fisheries management in Lake Superior over the next 10 years," said Ray.
To learn more about Lake Superior fishery management and review the draft Lake Superior Management Plan or submit comments on the draft plan, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "Lake Superior fisheries management" or contact Bradley Ray via phone 715-779-4036 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. People can submit written comments on the plan through Oct. 20.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

First-time winners take trout, walleye stamp contests

First-time winners took top honors at two habitat stamp contests that determined the artwork for the 2020 versions of the Minnesota trout and salmon stamp, and the walleye stamp.
Minneapolis artist Melissa Mickelson won the trout and salmon stamp (pictured) contest with a painting of a rainbow trout eating a minnow. Mickelson is not only a first-time winner, but becomes the first female to win the contest since 1990 and only the second in the history of the stamp.
Judges on Aug. 1, selected Mickelson’s painting from among 12 submissions. Tie runners-up were Stephen Hamrick of Lakeville and John Barnard of Moose Lake.
In the walleye stamp contest that happened the same day, Mapleton artist Josh Evan won for the first time with a painting of walleye about to bite on a hook baited with a minnow.
Judges selected the painting from among nine submissions. The runner-up in this year’s contest was none other than Mickelson, who won this year’s trout and salmon stamp contest.
Purchasing a walleye stamp is voluntary, and the DNR uses revenue from walleye stamp sales to purchase walleye for stocking in Minnesota’s lakes. Customers can buy walleye stamps any time, even if they already have a license.
The trout and salmon stamp validation is sold for $10 along with fishing licenses and is required for Minnesota residents age 18 to 64 and non-residents older than age 18 and under age 65 to fish designated trout streams, trout lakes and Lake Superior and when in possession of trout or salmon. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the validation as well as the pictorial stamp in the mail. It also is sold as a collectible.
Revenue from trout and salmon stamp sales is dedicated to trout and salmon management and habitat work. Visit mndnr.gov/stamps for more information about habitat stamps and contest guidelines.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


High angling pressure, catch rates result in closing Mille Lacs walleye fishing

Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake will close Friday, Sept. 6, so state anglers do not exceed a safe walleye harvest level.
“We’re glad anglers had the opportunity to harvest walleye in May and fish for walleye through much of the open water season,” said Brad Parsons, fisheries chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Because angling pressure and walleye catch rates were high, the coming closure is necessary to stay within established limits.”
High angling pressure and catch rates in July and August when water temperatures were at their warmest increased hooking mortality, resulting in a larger-than-expected walleye kill. Hooking mortality, which is more likely as water temperatures warm, occurs when a fish is caught and returned to the water but dies anyway.
The state of Minnesota and Ojibwe tribal authorities with fishing rights on Mille Lacs agreed on a 2019 safe harvest level of 87,800 pounds for state anglers and 62,200 pounds for tribal fishing.
“Mille Lacs Lake walleye regulations allowed some harvest this year but it’s still important to proceed with caution to ensure continued recovery of the lake’s walleye,” Parsons said. “The restrictive regulations we enacted in previous years protected young walleye, allowing the population to increase to a number not observed since before 2007. Continuing to manage the Mille Lacs walleye fishery for recovery will allow us to provide good angling opportunities in the future.”
Starting Sept. 6 at 12:01 a.m., anglers will not be able to target walleye when fishing on Mille Lacs Lake. Anglers may fish for other species and use live bait.
Walleye regulations for the winter of 2019-2020 on Mille Lacs Lake will be announced in November after data from fall walleye assessments are available. Winter regulations become effective on Sunday, Dec. 1.
Find more information on Mille Lacs Lake at mndnr.gov/millelacslake.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Public invited to comment on special fishing regulations

During a series of 17 public meetings, anglers and others can give their opinions about proposed 2020 changes to special fishing regulations for 30 Minnesota lakes.
These proposed changes are coming from 13 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources area fisheries offices. These regulations are designed to help meet fisheries objectives for particular lakes and would be different from the regulations that apply statewide or to major zones of the state.
“Lots of folks don’t realize how important it is for us to have Minnesotans’ perspectives integrated into our fish management goals,” said Jon Hansen, DNR fisheries programs consultant. “Public input and engagement are central to helping us work with Minnesotans to effectively manage fisheries.”
For example, public input could lead to a specific fish population objective, such as increasing pike sizes, Hansen explained. The DNR can propose regulations to achieve that objective, and anglers and others can share their thoughts about the proposal. Fisheries staff spend much of their time collecting data on fish populations, which tells whether a management objective is being met. Then, the DNR responds to these data by proposing to change a regulation or keep it the same.
The list of proposed regulation changes is long this year because of a review of existing special northern pike regulations that are different from the zone regulations.
During the process of implementing the northern pike management zones in 2018, the DNR committed to re-evaluating all of the existing special pike regulations on 84 lakes to see where the special regulations were producing the desired results and which lakes might perform as well under the new zone regulations. Based on the review, 10 lakes are being proposed to revert to the zone regulation and five are proposed to be modified to a different special regulation.
In most streams and rivers, statewide regulations, such as bag limits, do an adequate job in providing quality fishing opportunities. However, some fish populations are unique or experience angling pressure that warrants special regulations. Special or experimental regulations are found in their own section of the 2019 Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook (pages 38 to 54).
Notification of the proposed changes to special fishing regulations have been posted at the accesses to each lake for most of the open water fishing season.
Anyone who cannot attend a local meeting can call or write to local fisheries offices to comment about the proposed regulations. Phone numbers and email addresses for 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 the scheduled local meeting.
An open house about all of the regulation proposals will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the DNR headquarters in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road. No formal presentations will be made at the open house but comments on any proposal across the state will be accepted. Additionally, written comments on any proposal can be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. until Nov. 12.  
Meeting details:
Aitkin County (Aitkin area fisheries): New special walleye regulations on Minnewawa and Horseshoe lakes, 4:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, Aitkin DNR area office, 1200 Minnesota Ave. S., Aitkin.
Becker County (Detroit Lakes area fisheries): Removing special northern pike regulations on Eunice and Maud lakes, 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19, Lake Eunice Town Hall, 12708 Townhall Road, Audobon.
Beltrami County (Bemidji area fisheries): Northern pike regulation change on Upper Red Lake, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, North Beltrami Community Center, Gould Avenue SE and Main Street., Kelliher; removing special northern pike regulation on Big Lake, 6:30 p.m., Ten Lake Township Hall, 2142 Mission Road NE, Cass Lake.
Cass County (Walker area fisheries): Removing special northern pike regulations on Ada and Ten Mile lakes, 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25, at The Hub, 213 1st St. S., Hackensack.
Clearwater County (Bemidji area fisheries): Removing special northern pike and muskellunge regulations on Elk Lake, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, Itasca State Park Visitor Center, 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids.
Cook County (Grand Marais area fisheries): Removing special northern pike regulations on Little Cascade and Loon lakes, 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, Cook County Community Center, 317 W. 5th St., Grand Marais.
Crow Wing County (Brainerd area fisheries): Northern pike regulation change on Mitchell Lake, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, DNR area office, 1601 Minnesota Drive, Brainerd.
Hubbard County (Park Rapids area fisheries): Northern pike regulation change on 8th, 9th and 10th Crow Wing lakes, 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, Community Meeting Room at Northwoods Bank, 1200 E. First St., Park Rapids.
Itasca County (Grand Rapids area fisheries): Two meetings – walleye regulation changes on Moose, Deer, Battle, Pickerel, Split Hand and Swan lakes, and a smallmouth bass regulation change on Turtle Lake, 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 9, Big Fork City Hall, 200 Main Ave., Big Fork; 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, 402 SE 11th St., Grand Rapids.
Kandiyohi County (Spicer area fisheries): Largemouth bass regulation change on Long Lake, 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25, Roseville Township Hall, 15768 232nd Ave. NE., Hawick; walleye regulation change on Green Lake, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, Dethlefs Community Center, 317 Hillcrest Ave., Spicer.
Ramsey County (East Metro area fisheries): Largemouth bass regulation change on Turtle Lake, 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, Shoreview Community Center, 4580 Victoria St. N., Shoreview.
St. Louis County (Duluth area fisheries): Northern pike regulation change on Prairie Lake, 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, Floodwood Fair Building, 107 W. 7th Ave., Floodwood.
St. Louis County (International Falls area fisheries): Removing special northern pike regulations on Elephant Lake, 7 p.m., Sept. 24, Camp Five Town Hall, County Road 180, Fire Number 6560, Orr.
Todd County (Little Falls area fisheries): Black crappie regulation change on Mound Lake, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, Shadys Golden Eagle, 13218 County Road 103, Burtrum.
Washington County (East Metro area fisheries): Largemouth bass regulation change on Olson and Demontreville lakes and removing special northern pike regulation on Big Carnelian Lake, 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2, Stillwater Public Library, Margaret Rivers B Room, 224 3rd St. N., Stillwater.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR