DNR seeks public input on Cass Lake fisheries management plan

Cass Lake, one of Minnesota’s 10 large walleye lakes, has a new draft management plan and the Department of Natural Resources is seeking input on it.
The plan outlines the proposed five-year fish population objectives and fisheries management actions for Cass Lake and connected waters on the Cass Lake Chain. While the plan focuses on Cass Lake management, it is understood that fish populations, and anglers move throughout connected waters, and a management action on one basin affects the others.
The plan incorporates recommendations from a 14-member Cass Lake Fisheries Input Group, which included representatives from resorts, residents and lake associations on Cass Lake and connected waters, angling groups, species work groups, the Leech Lake Reservation Department of Resource Management, the Chippewa National Forest and the Cass Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Fishing on the Cass Chain is very important to the communities of Cass Lake, Bemidji and the surrounding area,” said Gary Barnard, Bemidji area fisheries supervisor. “Minnesota’s large destination walleye fisheries like Cass Lake attract anglers from all across Minnesota and numerous other states.”
Members from the input group provided important and diverse perspectives as users of the resource with a genuine interest in the long-term sustainability of the fishery. Input group members were concerned about the impact of angling pressure on the Cass Lake yellow perch fishery, and sunfish on connected waters, as anglers have become more mobile in targeting high quality populations.
The input group felt that the current status of the walleye and yellow perch fishery was excellent and encouraged the DNR to continue to support management efforts to sustain current levels of harvest.
The group also expressed concerns about system change and recommended that the DNR continue to study the potential impact of invasive species on the sustainability of the Cass Lake fishery.
The DNR is accepting public comments through Tuesday, Sept. 3, online at mndnr.gov/casslake/index.html. Paper questionnaires also are available at the DNR’s Bemidji area fisheries office, 2114 Bemidji Ave. in Bemidji. Following a review of comments, the DNR will revise the draft and finalize the Cass Lake management plan in October.
For more information, contact the DNR’s Bemidji area fisheries office at 218-308-2339.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee to meet Aug. 12

The Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee (MLFAC) will meet from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday, Aug. 12, at Izatys Resort, 40005 85th Ave., Onamia.
The agenda will cover an open water season update and a lake management planning discussion.
Members of the public may observe MLFAC meetings, but these meetings serve primarily as a way for the committee to hold group discussions. Fifteen minutes are reserved for public comments and questions.
The committee has been active since October 2015. Its purpose is to advise the Department of Natural Resources on the State of Minnesota’s fisheries management program for Mille Lacs Lake.
For more information about DNR’s management of Mille Lacs Lake and how to get involved, visit the Mille Lacs Lake management page. To sign up to receive these email updates, click on “Newsletter” on the left menu and enter your email in the blue box on the page.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Illinois angler wins BFL Qualifier in La Crosse

Darren Hahne of Ottawa, IL, caught three bass totaling 11 pounds, 7 ounces to capture first place in the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League Qualifier on the Mississippi River in La Crosse on Saturday.
La Crosse's Mike Brueggen was the top local finisher. He also caught three fish, but they weighed 10-11, good enough for third place.
Lee Lewis, from Peoria, IL, paced the Co-Angler Division with three fish totaling 9-15.


Saturday, July 20, results

1. DARREN HAHNE, OTTAWA, IL, 11-7 (3) $4,466 plus Ranger Cup ($2,000).
2. RICK PIEPER, MAYSVILLE, IA, 10-12 (3) $1,883.
3. MIKE BRUEGGEN, LA CROSSE, WI, 10-11 (3) $1,606.
4. BRANDON GANN, SPARTA, WI, 10-3 (3) $879.
5. KYLE VON RUDEN, STODDARD, WI, 9-14 (3) $753.
6. DIC CRIDER, GURNEE, IL, 9-12 (3) $690.
7. JEFF RITTER, PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WI, 9-11 (3) $778.
8. CHRIS ASWEGAN, TIFFIN, IA, 9-10 (3) $565.
10. RICK MARTIN, WINTER, WI, 9-5 (3) $439.

1. LEE LEWIS, PEORIA, IL, 9-15 (3) $1,883.
2. BILL GABEL, WILLOWBROOK, IL, 9-9 (3) $942.
4. MIKE FISCHER, STACY, MN, 8-15 (3) $758.
4. THOMAS ROBERTS, WAUNAKEE, WI, 8-15 (3) $508.
6. ZUTEUS SEVENANTS, HOLMEN, WI, 8-13 (3) $345.
7. DYLAN DREPHAL, BLACK CREEK, WI, 8-12 (3) $514.
8. KEVIN ANDERSON, ETTRICK, WI, 8-9 (3) $282.
9. RICHARD CONRAD, ARCADIA, WI, 8-4 (3) $251.
10. LEVI SCHMIDT, CALEDONIA, MN, 8-2 (3) $220.

Minnesota DNR seeking to improve sunfish size quality

Large sunfish are scarce in many Minnesota lakes, and local fisheries managers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are responding to angler desire for bigger sunfish by seeking out specific lakes that would be a good fit for improving sunfish size quality by reducing sunfish bag limits.
Some angling groups have been asking the DNR for several years to consider modifying the 20-fish bag limit for sunfish and adding length restrictions, but angler survey data show apprehension over a statewide bag limit reduction or length restrictions. In response, the DNR is seeking to identify individual lakes that have the right biological characteristics, and local angler support, to benefit from reducing the sunfish bag limit.
“Sunfish grow slowly, about an inch per year. We could grow two trophy bucks in the time it takes to grow a trophy bluegill, but for decades we didn’t think twice about keeping big sunfish,” said Dave Weitzel, Grand Rapids area fisheries supervisor. “Now we’re working locally to identify lakes capable of producing higher quality sunfish.”
Starting this summer, fisheries managers will be meeting with local angling groups to gauge support for reducing the sunfish bag limit on some lakes through the DNR’s process of proposing special regulations. Angler input is an important part of that process. Without support these regulation changes will most likely not go into effect.
Special regulations are specific to individual waters. Through the DNR’s Quality Bluegill Initiative, fisheries managers aim to increase the number of special regulation lakes for sunfish from about 60 to between 200 and 250 lakes statewide by the year 2023.
“Just like anyone else, we want fishing for sunfish to be enjoyable and to a lot of folks that means catching a big sunfish. Without a management change, it’s likely sunfish size will continue to decline, largely because of the influence we as anglers exert on their populations,” Weitzel said.
On any lake, anglers can voluntarily help protect big sunfish by releasing or limiting their harvest of large sunfish, which are considered about eight inches or bigger.
Sunfish spawn in large nesting colonies during the spring and early summer. Parental male sunfish build and defend nests. Females will select a male, lay eggs, and leave the eggs for the male to protect and fan with his fins. These nest-building male sunfish play an important role in repopulation, with the largest sunfish often getting the best spawning sites.
When anglers keep only the largest sunfish, the remaining small males don’t need to compete with larger males to spawn.
Once the larger males are gone, the smaller males devote less energy to growing. Instead, they devote energy to spawning at younger ages and smaller sizes.
Spawning sunfish are particularly prone to over harvest because they are very aggressive while defending a nest. Anglers can help by releasing spawning sunfish, especially large, nesting males. Released fish have a high survival rate and will typically return to their nests to complete the spawning cycle.
More information about sunfish biology and management can be found at mndnr.gov/fish/sunfish.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Aug. 1 deadline looms for Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing drawing

OSHKOSH, WI - Sturgeon spearers have until Aug. 1, to apply for a 2020 Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing license or purchase a preference point to be used in future drawings.
Participation in the February 2020 Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing season on lakes Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan is controlled through a preference point system where applicants possessing the most preference points are given priority in the drawing. All applicants are notified by Oct. 1, of whether they were drawn for a license and authorized to purchase a license for the 2020 Upriver Lakes season.
All applicants not drawn for an Upriver Lakes license, or those who purchase a preference point only, can still purchase a spearing license for Lake Winnebago before the Oct. 31, 2019 deadline. Spearers can only buy a license for either Lake Winnebago or the Upriver Lakes, not both.
Groups of up to four may apply together by designating a group leader and using his/her Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources customer ID on all applications. Each group will carry the preference points of the group member with the fewest points.
Spearers can apply for the license drawing or purchase a preference point through the DNR Go Wild online license sales or at license agents or DNR Service Centers.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR offering 4 multicultural family fishing events on Mississippi River

Anyone who wants to try fishing is invited to multicultural, family fishing events at four locations in four days along the Mississippi River from Coon Rapids to Hastings, where people can get a chance to fish for many types of fish at close-to-home locations.
“These events are a way to get people excited about fishing, especially from communities traditionally underrepresented in our angling public,” said Ray Ruiz, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fishing and hunting skills liaison. “I see a lot of people fishing the river, and if you think about it, the river connects everybody – from Coon Rapids to Hastings, they all share the same water.”
The events include fun, interactive and practical fishing methods and techniques and are geared toward anyone who doesn’t much have experience with fishing, lacks fishing equipment or wants to learn how to fish on the river’s edge. Attendees will learn how to tie fishing knots, practice casting, making baits, and fishing, with fishing gear and bait provided. People can attend one or more of the four days of events, scheduled as follows:
* Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park in Coon Rapids, 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15.
* Boom Island Park in Minneapolis, 4-8 p.m. Friday Aug. 16.
* Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17.
* Lake Rebecca Park in Hastings, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18.
The events will let people try river fishing, which can be different from lake fishing because of the moving water and the variety of fish to catch. Each location includes playgrounds, places to grill and amenities near the river. Ruiz also plans to go over fishing techniques and how to fish for different species of fish – from smallmouth bass to panfish to catfish.
“The river flows through our major metro area and it’s a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to give fishing a try,” Ruiz said. “We’re bringing fishing to the people, all you have to do is show up.”
The fishing events are possible through participation of the city of Hastings, city of Minneapolis, National Park Service, city of St. Paul and Three Rivers Park District.
Potential anglers who want to learn how to fish can visit the DNR website at mndnr.gov/GoFishing. The page covers fishing basics, where to fish, how to catch different types of fish, fishing programs to join, and the importance of fishing ethics and being stewards of Minnesota’s natural resources.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

FLW Tour season ends abruptly for La Crosse's Monsoor

PLATTSBURGH, NY - La Crosse professional bass fisherman Tom Monsoor isn't going to the FLW Cup, the "Super Bowl" of world bass fishing, in August.
Monsoor finished in 155th place in Friday's second round of the season-ending FLW Tour Qualifier on Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, NY.
Monsoor caught only four fish weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces for a two-day total of 20-13, and dropping him into 57th place in the final standings.
The veteran FLW Tour pro, in his 16th season, was in 24th place in the standings entering the four-day event to determine the top 42 qualifiers for the FLW Cup in August.
Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, LA, leads the event with 40 pounds, 1 ounce.