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PierBridge

Four-fish bag possible in July

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PierBridge

DNR Reports

St. Paul - Walleye regs on state waters of Red Lake could be relaxed in July as the Minnesota DNR announced Tuesday that this year's walleye harvest is well under the safe harvest level.

Nonband anglers harvested 124,000 pounds of walleye during open water and winter seasons this year, well within the safe harvest level of 168,000 pounds. Since walleye fishing resumed in May 2006 after a seven-year closure, special regulations have been in place to comply with a joint harvest agreement between the Red Lake Band and the DNR.

'We're very pleased that our conservative approach in this first year of angling was successful in managing angler harvest within the safe harvest level, said Gary Barnard, DNR Bemidji-area fisheries supervisor. 'This presents an opportunity to consider relaxed regulations during next summer's open water season.'

A citizen advisory group recommended that, if possible, harvest should be allocated equally between winter and open-water angling seasons, or 84,000 pounds per season.

Summer harvest estimates were near 54,000 pounds, with the majority of the harvest occurring in May and June. Fishing pressure and catch rates declined dramatically in July and for the remainder of the open-water season, a common trend on many Minnesota walleye fisheries. Total fishing pressure for the open-water season was estimated at just below 200,000 angler hours.

'We had some concerns going into the winter season since Upper Red Lake has a history of high winter pressure and winter catch rates typically do not decline as in the summer fishery,' Barnard said.

Winter angling pressure was considerably higher than the summer period, ending up at nearly 700,000 angler-hours. Longer average trip lengths contributed to an exceptionally high pressure estimate - due largely to the popularity of overnight sleeper houses. Still, total winter harvest was contained at about 70,000 pounds, within the established safe harvest level.

There is no doubt that without the two-fish daily bag limit and the 17- to 26-inch protected slot, winter harvest would have greatly exceeded the safe harvest level, possibly forcing a mid-season closure, Barnard said.

Rules are currently in place to allow a change to a four-fish daily bag limit on July 14, if total winter harvest plus May-June harvest are less than 134,000 pounds. If that change occurs, the limit automatically would revert back to two fish on Dec. 1, 2007, for the following winter season.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • delcecchi
      Pepin is natural feature of Mississippi, not man made.   Seems the Chippawa dumps a lot of sand in that causes the mississippi to back up, forming lake pepin.  But the ice going out on pepin is probably due to runoff starting and raising the river level and flow as much as anything.    If I were to compare stuff I would look at average temp for Virginia in march and april of those late ice years compared to this year.  Throw in May for good measure.
    • Cliff Wagenbach
      I can not remember the starting dates on those years but Brent would know! Cliff
    • delcecchi
      Like they say down in Loosiana, you pinch tail and suck the head.   And when they eat them, looks like they dump a bucket full on some newspaper on a picnic table and have at them.    But they still hadn't made it all the way west as of last summer, and I figure getting stopped with a cooler full of rusties heading home from the east wouldn't look good on my permanent record.... One of these years though.   I hear they are west of oak narrows now.
    • delcecchi
      Yes, had it on wife's iphone when that was the only smartphone in the family.   I think I would have to have one of the huge phablets to be able to see anything but I am old and don't see that well anymore, when it comes to fine detail.   But good you mentioned it since I had forgotten about it. 
    • Big Red Lodge
      some of the lake access areas might be interesting to navigate thru ad DNR is prepping the public landings
    • Big Red Lodge
      That is a hearty fish.  I guess that is the benefit of the late winter
    • Big Red Lodge
      Good to know.  Thanks for the update
    • Big Red Lodge
      I have not heard of any either, but the weather is looking good.  I'm optimist for opener
    • Bigfatbert
      Thanks for your updates Cliff . Out of curiosity , if this date holds true of Monday April 30th for the start of this years event , would you happen to know how this date sits with past late ice out years , for instance 1996 , 2013 ?
    • Wakemup
      Thanks Cliff for the update, and thanks Brett for the info too!