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Outdoors Notebook: Minnesota DNR announces fishing regulation changes

The changes were made as part of a package of changes the DNR announced, including a new reg that allows spearers, anglers and bowfishers to keep up to 10 longnose and shortnose gar.

Fishing (pike).JPG
Northern pike.
Brad Dokken/Grand Forks Herald

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has repealed or modified special fishing regulations on a handful of lakes in Beltrami and Otter Tail counties of northwest Minnesota.

The regulation changes will take effect March 1.

On Three Island and Turtle River lakes in Beltrami County, and Otter Tail and West Battle lakes in Otter Tail County, special northern pike regulations will be repealed effective March 1, and the North Central Zone pike regulation will take effect. That will mean a possession limit of 10, but anglers must release all northern pike from 22 inches to 26 inches and can keep no more than two pike over 26 inches.

Meanwhile, the DNR has modified special pike regulations on a portion of the upper Turtle River chain of lakes in Beltrami County. When the modified regulations take effect March 1, all pike from 22 inches to 30 inches in length must be immediately released on the Turtle River chain of lakes, including connected Little Turtle, Big Turtle, Beltrami and Fox lakes, and the Turtle River from Little Turtle Lake downstream to Fox Lake.

The changes were made as part of a package of regulation changes the DNR announced this week, including a new regulation that allows spearers, anglers and bowfishers to keep up to 10 longnose and shortnose gar. Traditionally, there was no limit on either species of gar – toothy, prehistoric fish native to Minnesota.


New or modified regulations also will be in effect for several other waters, including Big Sandy Lake and connected waters, Aitkin County; Caribou and Round lakes, Itasca County; and the Cloquet and Otter rivers of Island Lake Reservoir, St. Louis County.

Specifics on the regulation changes can be found on Page 7 of the 2023 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet, now available online at mndnr.gov.

– Brad Dokken

MDHA reaffirms support for wolf season

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association continues to support an open wolf season, should the opportunity arise, the group’s executive director said.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, MDHA executive director Jared Mazurek said the group has received numerous phone calls, emails and social media messages wondering why the group isn’t doing more to advocate for a wolf season.

“We believe wholeheartedly that Minnesota should have an open wolf season,” Mazurek said in the post. “Wolf population estimates clearly show that we are above target population numbers. The (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) set a recovery goal of 1,251-1,400 wolves within the state. To provide a buffer, the DNR expanded that goal to 1,600 wolves. The wolf population in Minnesota has stabilized at around 2,700 wolves. With an increasing human population and resulting habitat fragmentation, this is not an ecologically sustainable population for wolves in the state. Therefore, we believe there should be active wolf management within the state.”

However, Mazurek added, the wolf in February 2022 returned to federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, which means neither the state of Minnesota, the DNR, nor MDHA can do anything about establishing a wolf season.

“This is not an issue that can be resolved overnight, but is a top priority for our organization,” Mazured said in conclusion. “I want to make it clear that we are here for you and we are here for our wild deer herd.”


– Herald staff report

Did you know?

  • Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s 2023 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, held Feb. 17-19 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, drew a record-setting crowd of 33,154 people, the conservation group said. Minnesota last hosted the event in 2020, and this year marks the conservation group’s 40th anniversary. Next year’s event is set for March 1-3, 2024, at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • It’s the time of year when anglers and hunters in Minnesota need to think about buying new fishing and hunting licenses, the DNR said in a reminder. Minnesota fishing, hunting and trapping licenses for 2022 expire Tuesday, Feb. 28, and licenses for 2023 are now available wherever fishing and hunting licenses are sold, online at mndnr.gov and by telephone at (888) 665-4236. Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers. All 2023 fishing licenses become effective Wednesday, March 1. New licenses are required for 2023 hunting and fishing seasons that continue past Feb. 28.
  • Remaining North Dakota spring wild turkey licenses went on sale Thursday, Feb. 23, the Game and Fish Department said. After the lottery, 760 licenses remained in nine units and now are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Hunters are allowed two licenses for the spring season. As of Friday, licenses remained in unit 06, Bowman County; unit 13, Dunn County; unit 19, Grant and Sioux counties and portions of Morton County; unit 25, McHenry County and portions of Pierce and Ward counties; unit 30, portions of Morton County; unit 31, Mountrail County; unit 44, Slope County; unit 45, Stark County; and unit 51, Burke County and portions of Renville, Bottineau and Ward counties. Apply online at gf.nd.gov; only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply.

– compiled by Brad Dokken

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