From the DNR:

New fishing regulations aimed at improving fisheries

A batch of new fishing regulations have been enacted in northern Minnesota this year to improve fisheries for the future. In some cases, the new regulations expand harvest opportunities where previous regulations have succeeded in meeting management goals.

Each year, fisheries staff meets with the public to revise lake management plans for a number of lakes in each fisheries area. Once goals are set for the lake, regulations are introduced or changed to help meet those goals.

“Fishing regulations are designed to achieve specific management goals, so anglers should take some extra time to review regulation changes to ensure they understand and comply with them,” said Tim Goeman, northeast regional fisheries manager. “Cooperation from all anglers is important to create better fisheries.”

Bass angling opportunities will expand this year with a longer season for parts of northeastern Minnesota.

As muskellunge become an increasingly popular sport fish, a statewide minimum 54-inch size limit is being implemented to ensure fish reach their potential. The possession limit remains unchanged at one fish.

New or changed water-body or area-specific regulation changes are summarized below. Omissions or misprints to the 2015 Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook are also noted.

Lake-specific regulation changes

Lake Winnibigoshish – walleye will have a 18- to 23-inch protected slot, with only one longer than 23 inches. This will allow more harvest opportunity while still protecting spawning-age fish. In recent years, the slot limit on Winnibigoshish has consistently met management goals.

Saganaga, Sea Gull and Gull lakes (Cook County) and connected waters – walleye will have a 17-inch minimum size limit, possession limit of three fish, and only one fish over 20 inches. The regulation is intended to protect small walleye. The effects of this regulation will be studied for the next 10 years, and will be reviewed with the public in 2024.

Mukooda Lake (St. Louis County) – the temporary catch-and-release regulation for lake trout will continue as a special regulation to conserve the genetically unique fish population for further study.

Little Trout Lake (St. Louis County) – a new catch-and-release regulation for lake trout is being implemented to conserve the genetically unique fish population for further study.

Northeastern Minnesota

Bass – The bass angling season has been extended to increase opportunity. Anglers north and east of Highway 53 may catch and keep bass starting on the walleye opener on May 9 through Feb. 28, 2016. Anglers south and west of Highway 53 may catch-and-release bass during the two weeks from May 9 until the regular bass season opener on May 23, and then may keep bass through Feb. 28, 2016.

Minnesota waters on the Canadian border

Walleye or sauger – the bag limit for walleye or sauger is six fish, with one over 20 inches allowed in possession. Previously there was no size restriction.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass – the bass fishing season is continuous on Minnesota waters on the Canadian border.

Northern pike (for Basswood Lake, including Jackfish, Pipestone, Hoist and Black bays) – the pike season dates were omitted from the 2015 regulations handbook and should read, May 9, 2015 to Feb. 28, 2015. The season is not continuous in these waters.

Lake trout – the season dates for lake trout are May 9, 2015 to September 30, 2015. A misprint in the fishing regulations handbook states 2016.

Muskellunge – when the muskellunge season opens on June 20, there will be a new 50-inch minimum size requirement. The rest of the state has a new 54-inch minimum size requirement.

Inland waters including Lake Superior and the St. Louis River

Sturgeon (lake sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon) – a new catch-and-release sturgeon season is in effect this year for inland waters including the Minnesota portions of Lake Superior and the St. Louis River. Dates are March 1 to April 14, 2015, and June 16, 2015 to April 14, 2016.

How to find more information

Anglers should always check for special regulations on the waters they are fishing. To check online, they can go to and type the name of the water they plan to fish in the LakeFinder search box. Special regulations are also listed in the 2015 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet available at any license agent.

While on the water, anglers can access DNR’s mobile-friendly Fish Minnesota and LakeFinder websites for the up-to-date fishing information.

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