During a series of 17 public meetings, anglers and others can give their opinions about proposed 2020 changes to special fishing regulations for 30 lakes.

These proposed changes are coming from 13 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources area fisheries offices. These regulations are designed to help meet fisheries objectives for particular lakes and would be different from the regulations that apply statewide or to major zones of the state.

“Lots of folks don’t realize how important it is for us to have Minnesotans’ perspectives integrated into our fish management goals,” said Jon Hansen, DNR fisheries programs consultant. “Public input and engagement are central to helping us work with Minnesotans to effectively manage fisheries.”

For example, public input could lead to a specific fish population objective, such as increasing pike sizes, Hansen explained. The DNR can propose regulations to achieve that objective, and anglers and others can share their thoughts about the proposal. Fisheries staff spend much of their time collecting data on fish populations, which tells whether a management objective is being met. Then, the DNR responds to these data by proposing to change a regulation or keep it the same.

The list of proposed regulation changes is long this year because of a review of existing special northern pike regulations that are different from the zone regulations.

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During the process of implementing the northern pike management zones in 2018, the DNR committed to re-evaluating all of the existing special pike regulations on 84 lakes to see where the special regulations were producing the desired results and which lakes might perform as well under the new zone regulations. Based on the review, 10 lakes are being proposed to revert to the zone regulation and five are proposed to be modified to a different special regulation.

In most streams and rivers, statewide regulations, such as bag limits, do an adequate job in providing quality fishing opportunities; however, some fish populations are unique or experience angling pressure that warrants special regulations. Special or experimental regulations are found in their own section of the 2019 Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook (pages 38 to 54).

Notification of the proposed changes to special fishing regulations have been posted at the accesses to each lake for most of the open water fishing season.

Anyone who cannot attend a local meeting can call or write to local fisheries offices to comment about the proposed regulations. Phone numbers and email addresses for local fisheries offices can be found online at mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries, or on page 87 of the fishing regulations handbook. The offices will accept written or verbal comments up to 10 days following the scheduled local meeting.

An open house about all of the regulation proposals will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the DNR headquarters in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road. No formal presentations will be made at the open house but comments on any proposal across the state will be accepted. Additionally, written comments on any proposal can be sent by email to jon.hansen@state.mn.us until Nov. 12.

  • Aitkin County (Aitkin area fisheries): New special walleye regulations on Minnewawa and Horseshoe lakes, 4:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, Aitkin DNR area office, 1200 Minnesota Ave. S., Aitkin.
  • Becker County (Detroit Lakes area fisheries): Removing special northern pike regulations on Eunice and Maud lakes, 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19, Lake Eunice Town Hall, 12708 Townhall Road, Audobon.
  • Hubbard County (Park Rapids area fisheries): Northern pike regulation change on 8th, 9th and 10th Crow Wing lakes, 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, Community Meeting Room at Northwoods Bank, 1200 E. First St., Park Rapids.