Anglers asked for input on walleye limits in Voyageurs National Park and nearby lakes

Walleye (Painting by Timothy Knepp, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Walleye (Painting by Timothy Knepp, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is considering the future of walleye fishing regulation on five large and popular lakes near the Canadian border. As special regulations implemented in 2007 near the end of their lifespan, anglers are being asked to provide input on the next phase.

The regulations affect more than 60,000 acres of walleye waters on Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, Crane and Little Vermilion lakes in northern St. Louis County. Kabetogama, Namakan, and Sand Point are within Voyageurs National Park, Crane Lake is adjacent to the park, and Little Vermilion is nearby.

Currently, anglers can keep up to four walleye on the lake, but must release any fish between 17 and 28 inches. They can also keep one trophy fish over 28 inches. The total number of walleye is restricted to four. The regulations expire in 2019.

The DNR says the fisheries today are fairly healthy, with recent surveys showing mostly average populations and sizes, and the current regulations could simply be extended. Possible changes include slightly shrinking the protected slot to match the regulations on nearby Rainy Lake, which prohibit possession of fish between 18 and 26 inches. Managers are also considering protections for smaller fish.

Input invited

A comment period on the issue is now open until Oct. 15. People who fish for walleye on the five lakes are asked to weigh in.

“Angler preferences will have a great deal of influence over these regulations,”  said Kevin Peterson, International Falls area fisheries supervisor. “At this point, we have some ideas of regulation options but input from the public will help us decide on the specifics.”

Two public meetings, each with a similar format will be held in early October: 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Kabetogama Community Center along County Road 122 in Kabetogama; and 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Crane Lake Fire Hall, 7400 Handberg Road in Crane Lake.

Written comments can be submitted to the DNR area fisheries office, 392 Highway 11 East, International Falls, MN 56649; by phone at 218-286-5220; or via email to kevin.peterson@state.mn.us.

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