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Rick

OutdoorMN News - Dock regulations balance public water use and protection

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Rick

Docks and dock platforms provide access to Minnesota’s lakes and rivers, and are regulated to help protect public safety as well as aquatic habitat. As summer approaches, the Department of Natural Resources encourages property owners and lake service provider businesses to review the regulations, to ensure the equipment they own, sell or install is in compliance. 

Extensive dock systems may shade out important aquatic plants and eliminate critical habitat where fish spawn, feed, grow and find shelter from predators. They can also obstruct navigation or even create a safety hazard if they are too large or improperly placed.

“The current regulations have been in existence for many years, but not everyone is familiar with them,” said Jack Gleason, DNR public waters hydrologist. “The DNR worked with property owners, public water users, and business and industry representatives to develop these regulations. They’re designed to balance the need for reasonable access to public waters with habitat protection and safety.”

To ensure this balance, a dock may not be more than 8 feet wide and may not be combined with other similar structures to create a wider dock.

A modest platform at the water end of a dock is allowed under certain conditions. A single, temporary platform up to 120 square feet measured separately from the access dock, or 170 square feet including the area of the adjacent access dock, is allowed if the following conditions exist:

  • The access dock must be 5 feet wide or less, and
  • The dock must be on a lake with a shoreland classification of General Development or Recreational Development.

Docks must not be a hazard to navigation, health or safety and must allow the free flow of water. A dock should not close off part of the lake or river to other users. Docks must also comply with any local ordinances.

A document about state dock requirements is available on the DNR website.

The DNR website also contains links to other helpful information for property owners about shoreline erosion control and restoration projects to help improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat.

Discuss below - to view set the hook here.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • fins_n'_feathers
      Fished for a few hours this afternoon after the rain went through and the wind died down a bit. Tried a good dozen places in between black bay and the Brule and only got around 10 fish for the effort. The water was still pretty much ice cold at a cool 65 degrees in the main lake. We checked a few off shore reefs and saw zero signs of life on the ones we checked. The places we did get a few fish was were there was a rock to mud transition near shore on points. All in all another tough outing for us and on a side note, on the way in we pulled cranks in shallow water and the May flys were thick on the surface on the wind blown side. 
    • rkhinrichs
      I fished at the Forbes canoe access below the dam one day. And caught a 16 inch on a fly. I will give it a float and report back after the fourth
    • going4it
      Any tips on smallies up there? First time coming up. 
    • srj
      Nice report as usual, Hoey. We are fishing Wed and Thurs. Sounds like it will be ugly hot coming up. Hopefully, the fish will finally get into their summer patterns.
    • JBMasterAngler
      Definitely hit up some trails. My kids love to hike and explore. They surprise me with their willingness to keep trekking along. 
    • JBMasterAngler
      As long as there are bugs to eat, the trout will always hit the surface. As summer progresses, there will be less and less trout to catch.
    • rayguy
      Does it ever quit blowing?  Tough conditions this week. Fish scattered all over the place.  Bass hitting the best, panfish the least. Walleyes in the middle.  Best for us has been late afternoon on lindys and leeches. Nothing great but with the warmup coming I think things will improve. Did see a 7-8 lber caught ,  on a Daredevil of all things.  Keep the beer cold.  Go get em.  Rayguy
    • NorthBound&Down
      Thanks for the information!
    • OutdoorLife4Life
      Hey guys! We were up last weekend but only got to fish for a few hours. We caught a bunch of pike anywhere from mid teens in length to the low 20” range. We also caught a few bass and a few walleyes. Biggest eye was 19. We contacted all our fish from 16-20 feet. Most of our bites came on a jig and minnow. My wife and brother and law were trolling spinners but only managed pike. We did try crawlers without any success but again we were only out for a few hours. We fished on whitefish and targeted bars and a couple of wind blown underwater points. Good luck this weekend! Maybe we’ll see ya out there!
    • Chill62