Anglers in Minnesota need to be aware of regulation changes on about three dozen bodies of water this year.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources notes that the changes include more restrictive walleye regulations in the Saganaga Lake area in Cook County. Lake Winnibigoshish will have a relaxed protected slot limit for walleye. And northern pike special regulations will be removed on Big Birch Lake in Todd County.
Saganaga, Sea Gull, and Gull lakes (Cook County) and connected waters – Walleye will have a 17-inch minimum length restriction and a bag limit of three.
Sauk River chain of lakes (Stearns County) – Anglers will have a bag limit of 10 channel catfish but with only one of the 10 longer than 24 inches.
Lake George (Hubbard County) – Bass will have a protected slot limit of 14 to 20 inches, with one longer than 20 inches allowed in a possession limit of six.
Sand Lake (Itasca County) and connected waters (Birdseye, Portage and Little Sand lakes) –Starting in May of 2016, walleye will have a 17- to 26-inch protected slot limit with one fish longer than 26 inches allowed in a possession limit of six.
Lake Winnibigoshish – Walleye will have an 18- to 23-inch protected slot, with only one longer than 23 inches, relaxed from the previous 17- to 26-inch protected slot.
Clitherall and Sewell lakes (Otter Tail County) – On Clitherall Lake, smallmouth bass will have 14- to 20-inch protected slot limit with one longer than 20 inches allowed in a possession of six. The regulation for largemouth and smallmouth bass on Sewell Lake has also been changed to a 14- to 20-inch protected slot limit. This replaces the 12- to 20-inch protected slot limit.
Big Mantrap (Hubbard County) – Black crappie will no longer have a 10-inch minimum length restriction but will continue to have a restricted bag limit of five.
Regulation objectives for improving northern pike in Big Birch Lake in Todd County; walleye and sunfish in Cottonwood Lake in Grant County; and sunfish in Mississippi River navigation pools 5, 5a, and 8 on Minnesota-Wisconsin border waters were not achieved so special or experimental restrictions will be lifted. Bass regulations on Jewett and Pickerel lakes in Otter Tail County will return to statewide limits for the same reason.
Regulations Turning Permanent
Three lakes that have had experimental or temporary emergency regulations will become permanent special regulations. Reduced bag limits of five sunfish on Pimushe Lake in Beltrami County and 10 sunfish on Star Lake in Otter Tail County are now permanent.
The temporary catch-and-release regulation for a genetically unique population of lake trout in Mukooda Lake in St. Louis County was made a special regulation to conserve these fish for further study. Also, on Little Trout Lake, there will be a new catch-and-release regulation for genetically unique lake trout.
The regulation changes become effective March 1, 2015, except for the 2016 regulations on Sand Lake, and its connected waters, in Itasca County. The regulations will be posted at public access points of the affected waters.