Deadlines to remove fish houses are inching closer for the northern third of Minnesota. The dates will not be extended. Make sure you meet these removal deadlines. Act now! Deadline is end of the day Monday, March 18, for northern Minnesota inland waters. Deadline is the end of the day Sunday, March 31, for Minnesota-Canadian border waters, including Lake of the Woods. If shelters aren’t removed by the deadline, owners may be prosecuted and structures may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer. Heavy snow during February has created challenging conditions on lakes throughout the state. Don't wait until the last minute to remove your fish house. Connect with a plow service, or ask friends and family for help. You have a big role to play in keeping our state’s lakes clean. In addition to removing your fish house, be sure to pick up all trash and bring it off the lake with you – even if it isn’t yours. For more information, visit our ice fishing shelter page.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Mille Lacs Lake allowing walleye harvest in May
Anglers on Mille Lacs Lake will be able to keep walleye during open water fishing for the first time since 2015. An improving walleye population has been protected by conservative fishing regulations in recent years, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Mille Lacs anglers will be able to keep one walleye between 21 and 23 inches or one walleye over 28 inches from Saturday, May 11, through Friday, May 31. “It’s good news that anglers get to keep some walleye this May, but we are being cautious,” said Brad Parsons, DNR fisheries chief. “These regulations represent a careful balance between expanding fishing opportunities and conserving the fishery for the future.” Similar to recent years, a night closure for the 2019 walleye fishing season will be in effect on Mille Lacs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., beginning Monday, May 13. The night walleye closure will remain in effect throughout the entire open-water season, which ends Nov. 30. Catch-and-release fishing for walleye begins Saturday, June 1, and other than the night closure, there are no planned closures for walleye fishing this season. The DNR is able to allow this limited harvest opportunity because of an improving walleye population bolstered by a 2013 year class of fish that has been protected by conservative fishing regulations. The 2013 year class is starting to produce young fish that appear to be surviving. The DNR expects a strong increase in the number of anglers fishing during the period when walleye harvest is allowed. Allowing the harvest during May, when water temperatures are lower, will limit the mortality of released walleye associated with this increase in pressure. Both harvested fish and those that die as a result of being caught and released are counted against the state’s walleye harvest allocation. The Mille Lacs walleye population has undergone many changes over the past two decades that have coincided with significant aquatic system changes including increased water clarity and decreased walleye productivity; the introduction of zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny water fleas; a changing zooplankton community that may be altering the aquatic food web; and declines in certain forage species, including tullibee. The DNR encourages Minnesotans and out-of-state visitors to fish the other abundant species that Mille Lacs Lake has to offer in addition to walleye.
Bass fishing The lake is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s top smallmouth bass and muskellunge fisheries. In 2017, Bassmaster Magazine named Mille Lacs the number one bass fishing lake in the nation. The lake hosted the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship in 2016 and 2017. Minnesota’s bass season opens Saturday, May 11, and is catch-and-release only in most of the state, including Mille Lacs, through Friday, May 24. Beginning on Saturday, May 25, Mille Lacs’ daily bag and possession limit will be three bass per angler. All smallmouth and largemouth bass between 17 and 21 inches must be immediately released. Anglers may keep only one bass over 21 inches. In a change this year, smallmouth bass are catch-and-release only on Mille Lacs from Monday, Sept. 9, through Feb. 23, 2020, to be consistent with statewide regulations.
Northern pike Mille Lacs Lake has special regulations that exempt it from the new statewide northern pike zone regulations. From May 11 through Nov. 30, anglers may keep up to five fish. Only one northern pike over 40 inches may be included in the bag limit of five, and anglers must release all pike between 30 and 40 inches.
Special night fishing opportunities For muskellunge, the season opens on Saturday, June 1, with the statewide rules of a one fish bag and a minimum length of 54 inches. Beginning June 1, anglers may fish for muskellunge and northern pike at night on Mille Lacs, but may only possess and use artificial lures or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches.
Bowfishing allowed Bowfishing for rough fish is allowed at night on Mille Lacs starting June 1 but possession of angling equipment is not allowed and only rough fish may be in possession.
State and tribal allocations The state and the Ojibwe tribes with harvest rights in Mille Lacs Lake agreed on a 2019 safe harvest level of 150,000 pounds of walleye, resulting in a state allocation of 87,800 pounds. Under the catch-and-release only regulation last year, the walleye angler kill totaled just over 47,000 pounds. The walleye safe harvest level for Mille Lacs Lake is determined annually. It is based on population status and predictions of how harvest will affect the walleye population in the future. State anglers share the safe harvest level with the eight bands of Ojibwe that have fishing rights under an 1837 treaty. By agreement, the bands and the state are required to monitor harvest according to their respective allocations. More information about fishing on Mille Lacs Lake, ongoing DNR management and research, and Mille Lacs area recreation opportunities is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/millelacslake.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
La Crosse's Monsoor falters on day 1 of FLW Tour
BAINBRIDGE, GA - Tom Monsoor didn't fare well in the opening round of the third stop on the FLW Tour on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, GA, on Thursday. The La Crosse veteran bass pro is in 137th place with two fish totaling 3 pounds, 1 ounce. That's not good considering the leader is 22 pounds heavier. Braxton Setzer of Montgomery, AL, got off on the right foot with a 25-pound, 15-ounce limit. Friday's second-round results will determine Saturday's semifinals. The field is cut to the top 30 anglers after the first two days. Only the top 10 fishermen move from Saturday's semifinal round to Sunday's final.
La Crosse bass pro's luck turns worse
BAINBRIDGE, GA - Tom Monsoor didn't feel good about his chances entering the opening round on the third stop of the FLW Tour on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, GA, on Thursday. The La Crosse veteran bass pro felt even worse after finishing in 153rd place after two days. The result? An early exit and return trip to the Coulee Region. Monsoor went into the event with a new boat and new 250 horsepower Suzuki motor. Going more than 60 mph and racing 45 minutes to his first fishing destination on Thursday, Monsoor's boat conked out. "The first day I got to the dam, it quit running," he said. Monsoor called FLW Tour officials, who loaned him one of two emergency boats. "That was pretty nice of them, but I lost five hours of fishing and I was pretty much done after that," he said late Friday afternoon. Monsoor said he idled the new motor for about three hours before using it for the first time, but discovered that was definitely not the thing to do. While he thought he was breaking it in correctly, he allowed it to idle too long and gummed it up too much. Monsoor was advised to replace with new sparkplugs, cleaning fluid and then run the motor hard for an hour on Saturday. Then replace the plugs again and run it for another hour or more. He was told to change plugs again when he returns to La Crosse. "I thought idling it to break it in was the right thing to do, but I was wrong. It was all my fault," he said before going out to dinner with his girlfriend and fellow fishing competitor Jimmy Houston and his wife Friday night. For the record, Monsoor's 153rd, two-day weight was four fish, totaling 6 pounds, 10 ounces. Houston also had a short tournament, finishing 98th with four fish weighing 16-3. Only the top 30 anglers fish on Saturday with the top 10 advancing to Sunday's final round. Leader Bradford Beavers of Summerville, SC, brought in 18 pounds, 12 ounces on Friday to go with his 25-2 day one catch for a total of 43-14.
Monsoor wary of chances on FLW Tour this week
BAINBRIDGE, GA - Tom Monsoor doesn't sound like an angler in 12th place on the 2019 FLW Tour. The La Crosse veteran bass pro describes Lake Seminole as a "boat destroyer," to say the least. "It's solid stumps everywhere," Monsoor said, early Wednesday, while assessing the damage to his new boat and motor before Thursday's third stop on the FLW Tour in Banbridge, GA. "They have a 50-foot wide channel marked everywhere. As soon as you go outside that, you hit stumps. They are everywhere and I mean everywhere." The 70-year-old Monsoor has 356 points for his 12th place ranking in the standings. He finished 11th and won $12,000 in the season opener, and followed with a 35th place finish and $10,000 a few weeks later. He has more than $900,000 in career winnings. Monsoor said it's impossible to fish without hitting stumps. He wouldn't even venture a guess as to how many he struck while practicing before Wednesday's off-limits day. A run-in with stumps bent the prop shaft on his new 250 horsepower Suzuki motor. There's a six-inch chunk of metal missing, too. He said his new boat certainly doesn't look new anymore either. "I'm just hoping I make it through the tournament and my motor limps through it," he said. Monsoor said practice went poorly, too, although he did catch 8- and 10-pound largemouth along with a 5-pounder, all on his patented black and blue swim jigs. He also tried chatter baits, spinner baits, top-water lures and plastic worms. However, he believes the 170 anglers entered will catch plenty of fish. "Everybody is hitting stuff and breaking stuff on their boats and motors, but they'll catch fish. They'll kill 'em for sure," he said. The field is cut to the top 30 anglers after the first two days. Only the top 10 fishermen move from Saturday's semifinal to Sunday's final.
Public meetings set for Winnebago System walleye management
OSHKOSH, Wis. - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff will host three public meetings in March regarding Winnebago System walleye management. DNR staff will share monitoring results from annual surveys, including the 2018 spring spawning stock and Lake Winnebago bottom trawling assessments. In addition, updates will be provided regarding the walleye reward tag study and potential walleye regulation changes. Meetings will also include a question and answer session to provide those in attendance the opportunity to ask questions regarding walleye management on the Winnebago System. Meetings will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the following locations: * Wednesday, March 13, Oshkosh - Alberta Kimball Auditorium, 375 N. Eagle St. * Monday, March 18, Chilton - Engler Center for the Performing Arts, 530 W. Main St. * Thursday, March 21, New London - Mosquito Hill Nature Center, N3880 Rogers Road. For more information about walleye management, contact Adam Nickel, DNR Fisheries Biologist, or visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "walleye."
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
God's Country Muskies banquet on tap Saturday