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Bluegill improvement central to proposed special fishing regulations

Web posted September 15, 2020
Anglers should consider weighing in on proposed special fishing regulations that, if adopted, would become effective next year. Most of the proposed changes are aimed at protecting and improving bluegill sizes by lowering bag limits on lakes in 26 counties.

“The DNR’s bluegill initiative is a way to address concerns by some anglers about bluegill sizes by lowering the number of them people can keep on some lakes,” said Jon Hansen, fisheries program consultant for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We know there are a large number of lakes involved in this initiative, so we want to make sure we provide a variety of input opportunities, including offering online options to the traditional in-person meetings.”

The DNR launched an online presentation and comment opportunity for the bluegill initiative in May. Thus far, the DNR has received 2,500 comments through the online survey.

Hoping to invite conversation and reach a broad audience, the DNR will hold the first of five virtual town halls focusing on the bluegill initiative on Monday, Oct. 5.

“We are excited to offer these town halls and encourage people to use these and our online comment option as an alternative to the more traditional in-person meetings in each county,” said Hansen.

Each town hall will focus on a particular geographic area and will include a presentation and an opportunity for questions and comments. The schedule for the virtual town hall events is as follows:

• Region 1 – Monday, Oct. 5, 12-1 p.m.
• Region 2 – Wednesday, Oct. 7, 12-1 p.m.
• Region 3 – Monday, Oct. 12, 12-1 p.m.
• Region 4 – Wednesday, Oct. 14, 12-1 p.m.
• Statewide – Thursday, Oct. 13, 6-7 p.m.

Information on how Minnesotans can connect with these virtual town hall meetings will be available at mndnr.gov/sunfish.

Consistent with state law, the DNR will also host in-person open houses in each county where the proposed changes would apply. The DNR is making a number of changes to the in-person meeting format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who want to attend an in-person meeting, information can be found on the DNR’s sunfish information page at mndnr.gov/sunfish or by calling an area fisheries office.

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

Other proposed regulation changes
The DNR is also proposing new regulations for other species on some lakes. Island Lake Reservoir has abundant but very small walleye. A new slot limit and increased bag limit are intended to improve fish size.

Yawkey, Sagamore and Pennington lakes, three mine pit lakes in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, have the potential to support naturally reproducing lake trout populations and a minimum length limit is proposed to help achieve that goal.

Finally, among the lakes being proposed for bluegill bag limit reductions, the DNR is proposing that 24 also have reductions in crappie bag limits.

More details
Special or experimental regulations are intended to improve fishing quality or provide unique opportunities. These regulations are found in their own section of the 2020 Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook (pages 39 to 54).

Details about all the special regulation proposals are available on the fishing regulations page of the DNR website.

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