Anglers can give input Minnesota-South Dakota border waters

Anglers are encouraged to comment on a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources proposal to open the South Dakota-Minnesota border waters to continuous angling for walleye, bass and northern pike beginning in the spring of 2019.  
The South Dakota-Minnesota border waters are Big Stone, Traverse, Hendricks and Mud lakes, and the Bois de Sioux and Mustinka rivers.
“Biologists from both states agree that removing the closed season will provide more springtime fishing opportunities without negatively impacting fish populations,” said Chris Domeier, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Ortonville.
A continuous fishing season on the Minnesota-South Dakota border waters also would align with the existing continuous fishing seasons Minnesota has on border waters with North Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
A public comment period began on Sept. 24, and continues through Monday, Oct. 29. The DNR is using an expedited rule-making procedure to make these changes effective by March 2019 to coincide with a similar regulation change on South Dakota’s border waters.
The pubic may comment by linking to the DNR rule-making webpage located at http://bit.ly/MN-SD-BorderWatersInput, or comments can be sent to Al Stevens, 500 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul, MN 55155, or emailed to him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Extended inland trout season offers more opportunities for anglers

MADISON - Even in areas hit with historic flooding this August, Wisconsin trout populations are holding strong and anglers can expect good opportunities for fishing.
As water levels return to more normal levels, anglers can enjoy the benefits of the harvest season running through Oct. 15.
Fish biologists conducting fall surveys to assess trout populations in streams statewide are finding strong adult fish populations.
"The past 10 days of dry weather have allowed stream water levels to lower and become clearer, leading to some good fishing through the remainder of the season," says Kirk Olson, fisheries biologist for Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe and Vernon counties.
"Anglers will probably notice that trout in the area are very robust as fish have gorged on prey that washed into the stream during the flood. Recent fishing outings on area streams have brought many hungry trout to hand on both spinners and sub-surface flies."
The inland trout season runs through 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 15, giving anglers for the third year an extra two weeks on most waters except as noted in the "Specific Waters by County" section of the Guide to Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations, 2018-2019. The open season closes Sept. 30, for streams flowing into Lake Superior from their mouths to the first impassable permanent barrier, unless noted in the Specific Waters section.
Justin Haglund, fisheries biologist for Iowa and Richland counties, says fishing is still going strong in Iowa County and that Richland County streams, while hit hard by flooding, are now at near normal levels.
"If there is continued dry weather over the next few weeks this will provide good opportunities for fishing throughout the southwest region," he says.
Survey results on the Tomorrow and Plover rivers in central Wisconsin earlier this month, as well as on small streams like Comet Creek, suggest good fishing opportunities on a variety of waters, says Tim Parks, fisheries biologist for Marathon and Portage counties.
Not only are anglers more likely to see larger fish at this time of year, as the fish move upstream toward spawning grounds, but the change to darker colors, particularly for male fish, allows anglers to see some beautiful fish in a variety of places.
"I know a lot of anglers have their sweet spots, but my message is to be adventurous," he says. "Take a roll of the dice. Hit one of the small streams and you'll be surprised. There's places where we were surveying this last month where we found fish either larger or more abundant than we expected.
Joanna Griffin, trout team coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources DNR's trout team, says trout anglers planning their fall fishing trips will want to check out DNR's online trout tool beforehand and even consult this mobile tool while fishing.
T.R.O.U.T. stands for Trout Regulations and Opportunities User Tool, and it shows anglers where to access streams and where to park, displays habitat projects around the state, and provides on-the-go mobile access to trout stream regulations.
Anglers wanting a printed map can use the tool to find the water they want and then print off a copy, or anglers can also print off county maps showing Wisconsin's classified trout streams. These PDFs will not have regulations public lands and fishing easements noted on them.
Current trout fishing forecasts from fisheries biologists are available for waters in the following counties: Chippewa, Crawford, Dane, Dunn, Eau Claire, Green, Iowa, La Crosse, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Pepin, Portage, Richland, Rock, Vernon and Waushara. Other more general forecasts and survey results are found in the trout section of the 2018 Wisconsin Fishing Report, starting bottom of page 15.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

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

Angling regulations that would change on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River in northern Minnesota are the topic of an open house for the public to give input on the proposals from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday, Oct. 8, at Lake of the Woods School.
The changes under consideration by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources would reduce the number of walleye and sauger allowed to be kept in the winter on the lake, and on the river allow only catch-and-release fishing for those fish in the spring. The changes would take effect on March 1, 2019.

Winter walleye and sauger proposal
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 limit would remain in effect.
The current winter regulation from Dec. 1 to April 14 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.
DNR Baudette area fisheries supervisor Phil Talmage said expanding winter pressure has resulted in sauger harvest exceeding management objectives with 80 percent of the sauger harvest coming in the winter season.
Rainy River spring season proposal
The proposed regulation change is a catch-and-release season that would be in effect March 1 to 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.
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 larger.
This regulation would maintain the spring sport fishery while protecting the long-term sustainability of the Rainy River spawning population and reducing 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,” Talmage said. “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.”
There will be a short presentation at the open house. Following the meeting, comments will be accepted through Thursday, 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..
Anglers who can’t make the meeting in Baudette 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.
More information on fishing regulations can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/fishing.
 
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


DNR seeking input on Leech Lake proposed walleye regulation change

A proposed walleye regulation change on Leech Lake would allow anglers more opportunities to keep walleye beginning when the 2019 open water fishing season opens.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking input on the change at an open house from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday, Sept. 24, at the Walker Area Community Center.
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.
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.”
Carl Pedersen, the DNR large lake specialist on Leech Lake, said 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,” Pedersen said. “Protective fishing regulations combined with very consistent production of year classes over the past 10 years have put us in a very good position.”
If future fisheries assessments indicate harvest should be reduced, the DNR anticipates revisiting the protected slot limit at that time.
At the meeting, there will not be a formal presentation but DNR staff will be on hand to answer questions and discuss the proposed regulation with individuals who attend. Following the meeting, comments will be accepted through Friday, 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..
Anglers who can’t make the meeting in Walker 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 at the open house.
More information on fishing regulations can be found on the DNR website atmndnr.gov/fishing.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

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


Grants available to help introduce Wisconsin residents to fishing

MADISON - A total of $75,000 in grants are now available under a new Department of Natural Resources initiative aimed at helping local governments, organizations and others recruit new anglers, particularly adult women and other groups under-represented in the activity.
The Angler Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation (Angler R3) grant program will provide financial assistance to local governments, organizations and others who conduct Angler R3 programs and activities in Wisconsin.
"This is a brand new opportunity that groups can use to shore up our angling heritage in Wisconsin," says Keith Warnke, R3 team leader.
The DNR will award a total of $75,000 during this first grant cycle in 2018. The maximum award amount for each project will be $10,000. These grants will be administered as a reimbursement program and the DNR plans to accept grant applications only in even numbered years, according to Jill Sunderland, Angler (R3) Grant Manager.
Tribes, municipalities, schools, community-based organizations, conservation organizations, individuals and local food organizations are among the entities eligible to apply for the grants.
The deadline for applying electronically is Oct. 15. Find information about grant eligibility and application materials on the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, by searching for  Angler Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation Grant Program.
Wisconsin license sales are growing but not immune to national leisure-time trends
The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and partners, including state agencies like DNR, have embarked on an effort to grow participation to 60 million anglers in 60 months, by following recommendations for angler Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) efforts.
More than twice as many Wisconsin adult residents fish - about 20 percent - as the national average and Wisconsin's fishing license sales have increased over the past 15 years and now stand at about 1.4 million, according to a recent DNR study,
However, Wisconsin faces the same national trends of younger people spending less time outdoors, and concerns that there will not be enough new anglers in the future to replace anglers who discontinue participation as they age.
Justine Hasz, Wisconsin's fisheries director, says the new grant program builds off the DNR's Fishing for Dinner program and is part of the 60 for 60 initiative led by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation to increase the number of anglers nationwide to 60 million by 2021. The DNR's Fishing for Dinner program is aimed at adults and combines classroom learning, fishing with veteran anglers, and learning how to prepare their catch.
"We're looking at new, innovative ways to introduce people and recruit them into fishing, especially people in the 18- to 35-year-old group," she says. "We're very excited to be offering our first grants and see people's ideas for bringing more people into this fun, family-friendly activity."

SOURCE: Wisconsin 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