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Leech slot starts in May

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Major changes are coming for anglers on Leech Lake.

Star Trib article

Beginning with the walleye opener May 14, the walleye bag limit will be four, with one fish allowed longer than 26 inches. Walleyes 18 to 26 inches must be returned to the water.

The Department of Natural Resources made the changes following a public comment period that ended last month.

The experimental regulations are designed to protect walleye brood stock in the lake, which DNR biologists and anglers are concerned about due to weak year classes since 1997. The agency decided to narrow the protected slot limit based on comments from the public, said Henry Drewes, DNR northwest regional fisheries manager.

"The original proposal was an 18- to 28-inch protected slot," Drewes said in a news release. "After the angling community expressed interest in keeping a few more larger fish, we took another look at our population models and determined that we could still accomplish our goal of protecting a significant amount of brood stock if we modified the slot on the upper end to 26 inches."

The DNR received more than 270 comments related to the walleye regulation proposal, of which about 81 percent were in favor of the protected slot, reduced daily possession limits and the one-over limit, said Harlan Fierstine, Walker-area fisheries supervisor. The DNR said more than 400 Walker-area residents purchased space in the local newspaper to express their support for the regulations.

"We got the message loud and clear that people want to see a proactive, holistic management plan for improving the walleye fishery on the lake," Fierstine said. "And the plan people want to see in place this spring includes walleye regulations, proactive cormorant management, experimental walleye fry stocking and habitat protection."

The effectiveness of the new regulations will be evaluated over the next five years.

The DNR also is working with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program to initiate stepped-up control of the rapidly expanding cormorant colony on the lake. The DNR also is finalizing the details of a plan to stock the lake with five million marked walleye fry during each of the next three years and develop short- and long-term fish habitat goals.

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Thanks for that post...

I think overall it will be good for the lake, but the economy up there is going to suffer for a few years. I want to hear someone explain to me the Indian netting regulations.



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Nuclear Fishin

I agree. They seemed to address all the concerns except for the Indian gill netting on Leech.

I think the DNR should explain how much and what affect on the economy the Indian gill netting has and how it has to be changed.

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It really is more of inflation on costs of recreation than economic impact caused by a restricted slot. This area in particular continues to grow in population and rec use as more people look to get further away. Being a former land owner up there lake shore has gone 6 fold since we had purchased and more land is being bought up around leech and neighboring lakes. The economy around Leech includes many communities that there residents and visitors travel and visit Walker. Yes the guides will suffer some I agree, and as netting goes, I can't remember the last time I heard of it going on that created a conversation. I believe with the restrictions the state will put the Boy river stripping station back in and help with the stocking of Leech and other nearby lakes, the Steamboat area should also see some monitoring also of Spawning fish, Yes protecting is the key for a few years, the Boy river station was a big factor to its success in the 80's and that was the last I heard of its use. Other gamefish other than Walleye is the attraction to this area hope it all pans out. As long as it is Managed and not just set the mark and leave it for 5 years.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • meerkat
      18 days to opener,  I hope there is some open water we can fish.  our group can't reschedule due to work issues.  Come on Sun/Rain!!!  Our golf courses are just opening up today!!  smh
    • smurfy
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    • mrpike1973
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    • eyeguy 54
      Sure glad you had some help moose and all turned out well ! 
    • Rick
      Impressive, both Tom and Jeremy
    • eyeguy 54
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    • monstermoose78
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    • redlabguy
      To all you guys who’ve been keeping us posted, thank you. I’m an islander so I don’t have much hope for the opener, but I’ve been reading all the posts (read them year around), including entertaining posts on new gear, and, again, thanks for letting a lot of guys know what’s going on there. The current weather, forecast and web cams, give me hope! I’m thinking I may get back home in three weeks, maybe four. Keep the sun shining, Dick
    • jkrash
      What a difference a day makes, yesterday the dam was locked up tight and today it's roaring. Walleye should be running this week...
    • IceHawk
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