Minnesota DNR announces new special angling regulations

Trout anglers have all the more reason to visit Chatfield, Lanesboro, Preston and Spring Valley in southeastern Minnesota thanks to a change that effectively allows trout fishing all year long in these cities.

“We’re pleased to offer this new opportunity for catch-and-release stream trout fishing during the fall, when the trout season is traditionally closed,” said Ronald Benjamin, Lanesboro area fisheries supervisor. “This fills the gap between open trout seasons and makes these special regulations match the popular year-round season established in three nearby state parks.”

The change allows catch-and-release trout fishing in the fall in these cities, which means anglers can either catch and release, or catch and keep trout depending on the time of year, on the South Branch Root River in Preston and Lanesboro; Mill Creek in Chatfield; and Spring Valley Creek in Spring Valley.

“Adding this new opportunity is great for anglers and it’s sensitive to the needs of surrounding landowners. During the fall, deer hunting is a big deal here and anglers will have more places to fish, but not outside the cities where there’s a greater chance anglers could disrupt deer hunts,” Benjamin said.

The change is one among several to fishing regulations that are specific to individual waters and go into effect March 1. Following public review that wrapped up this past fall, fishing regulations will change on six lakes and three streams starting in March, while existing regulations on three lakes will become permanent and a regulation on one lake will be extended.

These changes include new regulations that have not yet been in effect; regulations that have been in effect but will be modified or dropped; and regulations turning permanent that were reviewed and will now be in effect indefinitely.

Regulations that are specific to individual waters take precedence over statewide regulations. Special regulations can be found in their own section of the Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet, at www.mndnr.gov/fishmn using LakeFinder, and posted at public accesses.

Lake Vermilion (St. Louis County): Anglers on Lake Vermilion will be able to keep walleye up to 20 inches long, with one allowed over 26 inches, starting with the May fishing opener. The new regulation will require release of all fish from 20 to 26 inches with only one allowed over 26 inches. The four-fish bag limit will remain the same.

Little Webb Lake, Moccasin Lake and Lake Thirteen (Cass County): Five-fish bag limits on sunfish and on black crappie on Little Webb and Moccasin lakes, and a bag limit of five on sunfish for Lake Thirteen, are being adopted and will be reviewed after 10 years to evaluate how well they maintain quality sunfish and crappie for anglers.

Sections of the South Branch Root River in Preston and Lanesboro; Mill Creek in Chatfield; and Spring Valley Creek in Spring Valley (Fillmore and Olmsted counties): Catch-and-release fishing allowed roughly within these city limits from Oct. 15 through Dec. 31. Although the boundaries of where anglers can fish through this change roughly encompass the length of the streams in these four cities, the boundaries are not the actual city limits. Specific boundaries will be listed in the Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet, available in March.

Carnelian Lake and Pleasant Lake (Stearns County): Experimental regulations on sunfish that have been in effect since 2007 will become permanent. A reduced bag limit of five sunfish were shown to have effectively maintained quality populations of sunfish.

Sugar Lake (Wright County): Northern pike and black crappie experimental regulations that have been in effect since 2007 have shown to improve the sizes of northern pike and crappie and will become permanent.

Bowstring and Round lakes and connected waters (Itasca County): Experimental regulations on northern pike will be dropped and return to the statewide regulation. The regulation objective to encourage harvest of abundant small pike will likely be achieved by the new northern pike zone regulation set to be adopted in the spring.

Sand Lake and connected waters (Itasca County): Implemented with regulations on Bowstring and Round lakes, the experimental regulations on northern pike will be continued for one year, allowing additional time to collect survey data in 2017 before making a final decision on retaining or dropping next fall.