DNR will seek walleye slot limit, lower bag limit on Fish Lake
An advisory committee of Fish Lake stakeholders has recommended the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources implement a 13- to 17-inch harvest slot limit for walleyes on the lake, says Deserae Hendrickson, DNR area fisheries supervisor at Frenc...
An advisory committee of Fish Lake stakeholders has recommended the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources implement a 13- to 17-inch harvest slot limit for walleyes on the lake, says Deserae Hendrickson, DNR area fisheries supervisor at French River.
A 13- to 17-inch harvest slot means that anglers on Fish Lake, northwest of Duluth, may keep only walleyes from 13 to 17 inches long. In addition to the slot limit, the citizens' committee recommended allowing anglers one walleye over 28 inches in a daily bag limit of three walleyes, Hendrickson said. The current limit is six fish, and the lake has no slot limit.
Walleye fishing has been declining in recent years on the lake, and the advisory committee was convened to consider possible management strategies and recommend them to the DNR.
The group, called the Fish Lake Structured Decision Making Committee, debated between a two- and three-walleye limit before settling on the three-fish limit, said committee member Keith Anderson, who lives on Fish Lake.
"We were thinking the (limit of two) would reduce harvest more, but the combination of the slot and the reduced harvest would protect the fishery," Anderson said. "Also, weighing the interests of the resorts -- that played very strongly with the (limit of) three."
Tim Wagner, who owns Hi-Banks Resort on Fish Lake, said he's pleased with the committee's recommendation and is especially happy the committee recommended a bag limit of three walleyes rather than two.
"That two -- that would have upset me," Wagner said. "The limit of three is good, and the slot limit is good."
Hendrickson said she will seek accelerated approval within the DNR for the proposed management strategies, which would allow them to be implemented by 2013. Without the accelerated approval, the earliest that new regulations could be in place would be 2014, she said.
The DNR commissioner and possibly the governor would have to sign off on the accelerated approval schedule, Hendrickson said.
The committee also recommended the DNR do some special stocking with marked walleye fry in an effort to determine survival rates for young-of-the-year walleyes. With that relatively new technique, DNR biologists can determine how many young of the year survive.
"We really don't think that stocking is the answer," Anderson said. "It's more of a tool for finding out what the problem is."