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DNR seeks input on Bluegill limits on area lakes

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources logo
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources logo

Minnesota Anglers will have the opportunity to voice their opinion on a new proposal involving Bluegills on Oct. 8 at the Fergus Falls Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Area Headquarters.

The Minnesota DNR is proposing a bag limit change on several area lakes. According to Minnesota DNR’s Jim Wolters, 13 lakes in Otter Tail County will be affected by the change.

“Statewide the Minnesota DNR is proposing changes to a little over 200 lakes on regulations to reduce bag limits from 20 down to 10 or 20 down to five,” Wolters said. “In the area, we have 13 lakes that we are proposing all go down to five fish bag limits. We are going to have the opportunity for the public to provide input at a meeting in Fergus Falls on Oct. 8. In the meantime, there are opportunities to provide input online at the DNR website or send an email to me directly.”

Wolters said the need for the change is because anglers have noticed the quality has gone down in a lot of the lakes they fish in and they believe it is due to overharvesting

“We have heard from individual anglers and there is a statewide panfish work group that consists of individual anglers, resort owners and businesses. They have had concern about overharvest of larger Bluegills. With a lot of thought on how we wanted to proceed, we are moving forward with a couple of options, which are the five fish bag limit, reduced from 20 and the 10 fish bag limit reduced from 20. The 10-fish reduction is generally designed to maintain quality, so those fisheries were starting to see some quality decline but there were some bigger Sunfish out there. The five fish bag is really designed to limit harvest and restore those Sunfish populations that may have been impacted by overharvest.”


Wolters said it’s a big sacrifice to go down from 20 to five, but it is done to get quality Bluegills back into the lakes system. He said the population has rebounded on lakes that already have those regulations.

The Otter Tail County Lakes that are on the table for the proposal include: Bass (near Underwood), Deer, East Lost, Fish (near Weetown), Fish (near Parkers Prairie), Franklin, Long (near Vergas), Prairie, Red River Lake, Stuart, West Lost and West Silent. The DNR said there will be no formal presentation during the meeting, but attendees will be able to talk at any point, per the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they can only have 10 people at a time in the conference room at the DNR Headquarters. Wolters is asking that people pre-register for one of the 30-minute sessions on the night of the meeting. Pre-registration is not required but highly recommended, so they can control the number of people in the room at one time. The first session begins at 5 p.m. and runs for a half-hour with the following three sessions happening after the first one concludes at 5:30 p.m.

For more information or to comment, contact the DNR Fisheries Office at 218-671-7954, email Jim Wolters at Jim.Wolters@state.mn.us or via the DNR online survey at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fish/sunfish/index.html . Comments will be accepted through Oct. 25.

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