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Fish and Wildlife Almanac: free webinars, fish regulation updates, bass fishing opener

May 24, 2022 09:58AM ● By Laura Durenberger
Photo: Federico Giampieri

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources • May 23, 2022


Bass fishing a highlight of spring

The bass fishing catch-and-keep season opens Saturday, May 28, and spring is a great time to cast a line for these fun-to-catch fish. Largemouth and smallmouth bass can be easier to catch in spring and early summer, when they spend more time in shallow water. Later, as water temperatures rise, bass move to deeper water in search of sunken points, rocky humps and aquatic plant edges that offer protection from larger fish and hiding places for prey. Learn more about how to fish for bass and other species at the DNR’s learn to fish page.

Minnesota DNR reminds Mille Lacs anglers of June 1
catch-and-release walleye regulations

Mille Lacs Lake anglers can keep one walleye from 21-23 inches, or one over 28 inches, through Tuesday, May 31. Walleye fishing will be catch-and-release from Wednesday, June 1, through Thursday, June 30.

A two-week closure — implemented to reduce hooking mortality — will be in place from Friday, July 1, through Friday, July 15. During the walleye closure, angling is allowed for all other species; however, live, dead, preserved or parts of minnows, night crawlers, worms, leeches or crayfish may not be used while fishing during this period. Anglers targeting northern pike and muskellunge are allowed to use sucker minnows greater than 8 inches in length. All other anglers must use artificial lures. Catch-and-release walleye fishing will resume on Saturday, July 16, and continue through Wednesday, Aug. 31. The one-fish walleye limit is scheduled to resume Thursday, Sept. 1, through Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Fishing hours on Mille Lacs Lake are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for all species. Beginning on the opening of muskellunge season on Saturday, June 4, anglers targeting muskie and northern pike are not subject to the night fishing closure, if they are using artificial lures or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches. During the late walleye harvest season beginning Thursday, Sept. 1, anglers can fish from 6 a.m. to midnight.

Complete Mille Lacs Lake fishing regulations are available on the DNR website.

DNR webinars cover walleye fishing basics, youth fishing leagues, Cuyuna recreation area

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites Minnesotans interested in fishing, wildlife and outdoor skills to tune into upcoming webinars that will discuss youth fishing leagues, muskellunge and the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.

The first webinar, on youth fishing leagues, will be at noon Wednesday, May 25. Join DNR fisheries manager and bass fishing expert Eric Altena as he shares ideas and resources to help grow youth passion for fishing and connect with Minnesota’s increasing number of high school fishing leagues and clubs.

The second webinar, on muskie management and fishing, will be at noon Wednesday, June 1. TJ Debates, DNR fisheries supervisor, will talk about how the DNR manages muskie, where muskie live and some tips on how to catch them. Anglers can begin fishing for muskellunge in Minnesota on Saturday, June 4. There are muskie fishing opportunities across the state, including in the seven-county metro area.

The third webinar, on the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, will be at noon Wednesday, June 8. Learn about the state’s first recreation area, which is centrally located in Minnesota and offers premier mountain biking, scuba diving, fishing, boating and much more.

The webinars are part of the DNR’s Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship Series, which aims to give participants quick, relevant information on upcoming seasons and events, as well as skills to enjoy these opportunities. The webinars are free, but registration is required. More information, including registration information for webinars, is available on the outdoor skills and stewardship page of the DNR website.

DNR cautions lakeshore property owners about
improper use of hydraulic jets

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources frequently receives questions about devices that generate water current to blast muck and plants away. They have various trade names, but the DNR refers to these devices generically as hydraulic jets. Even though you can buy one in Minnesota, they cannot be used in any way that disturbs the bottom of the lake or uproots plants.

A person may legally operate a hydraulic jet if it is placed high enough off the lake bed so that it does not disturb the bottom or destroy rooted aquatic plants. It should be directed upward toward the water’s surface, which can prevent dead vegetation and duckweed from collecting around docks and boat lifts.

Aquatic plants are important to lakes. They help maintain water clarity, prevent erosion, stabilize the bottom and provide habitat for fish and wildlife and are therefore protected under state law.

Specific regulations govern what situations require permits for aquatic plant removal. Regulations and a guide to aquatic plants can be found on the DNR website. To apply for a permit, visit the DNR’s permitting and reporting system.

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