Now is typically the time of year when the dreaded “cabin fever” virus usually sets in but with the weather temperatures hovering above freezing most of the time winter hasn’t been quite as hard to take. I’m not saying that I miss the days of sitting in the house with the wind whipping snow past my window but when the temperatures remain in the 30’s and cloudy I feel like I am in limbo. The other day when the sun was shining brightly and the temperatures were hovering around 40 I had that “spring fever” feeling which is much better than the other one.
There is a part of me that feels that it is only a matter of time before we get hit with some very real Minnesota weather. A few days ago New York State was ready to pull the plug and pretty much shut everything down in anticipation of that great storm that never really materialized. Have we become so paranoid that the first time we hear of some possible bad weather we shut down schools and close businesses to sit by the window and watch for the forecast to become reality? Even with all of the modern technology that we have available to us nature still has the final say.
The fishing on Fountain Lake is still going strong but I am not too sure about the catching part. I have heard that the heavy action that fishermen were experiencing a couple of weeks ago has lessened. Drilling a couple of holes and wetting a line is still a great way to spend a few hours enjoying the winter outdoors.
I have thought many times that I would like to head north to the cabin for a few days of hard water fishing on a couple of the lakes that I usually fish in the summer. It would be fun just to see how different the fishing might be on those same lakes in the winter. It seems as if the DNR is forever changing or posting new regulations on many of our state’s lakes and now they have released new changes for the upcoming season. The following is a part of the new or changed regulations and you can find more information on this by visiting the Fish Minnesota web page.
DNR announces new special angling regulations
Angling regulations will change on nearly three dozen waters this year, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Among the changes: Anglers will see more restrictive walleye regulations in and around Saganaga Lake in Cook County. Lake Winnibigoshish will have a relaxed, or narrower, protected slot limit for walleye. And northern pike special regulations will be removed on Big Birch Lake in Todd County.
Changed and new special and experimental regulations will be posted at public accesses on affected lakes and become effective March 1, except for those involving Sand Lake in Itasca County and connected waters, which will be effective in 2016.
Saganaga, Sea Gull, and Gull lakes (Cook County) and connected waters – Walleye will have a 17-inch minimum length restriction and a bag limit of three established to protect small walleye to make the most of limited production of those fish from natural reproduction or stocking. Fish managers have been concerned for several years about low numbers of young walleye seen in these lakes, and the possibility that without some protection, those low numbers would result in even lower numbers of adult fish, with further reductions in spawning success. Effects of this regulation will be studied for the next 10 years, and will be reviewed with the public in 2024.
Sauk River chain of lakes (Stearns County) – Anglers will have an expanded opportunity to harvest channel catfish, which became established in the late 1970s and since have become very abundant. A bag limit of 10, but with only one of the 10 longer than 24 inches, is to provide the opportunity for more harvest yet still provide a healthy population of catfish.
Lake George (Hubbard County) – Bass will have a protected slot limit of 14-to 20-inches, with one longer than 20 inches allowed in a possession limit of six. The lake has a healthy population of bass shorter than 15 inches but fewer larger bass compared to other nearby lakes and the regulation is designed to boost numbers of larger bass.
Sand Lake (Itasca County) and connected waters (Birdseye, Portage and Little Sand lakes) –Starting in May of 2016, walleye will have a 17- to 26-inch protected slot limit with one fish longer than 26 inches allowed in a possession limit of six. This experimental regulation is intended to increase abundance of spawning-age walleye, stabilize reproduction, and end boom-and-bust cycles of fishing success for walleye. The regulation will be monitored for 10 years and its effect on walleye and fishing will be reviewed with the public in 2025.
Lake Winnibigoshish – Walleye will have an 18- to 23-inch protected slot, with only one longer than 23 inches, relaxed from the previous 17- to 26-inch protected slot. This is to allow for more harvest opportunities while still maintaining protection to spawning-age fish. In recent years the slot limit on Winnibigoshish has consistently met objectives established for the regulation.
Clitherall and Sewell lakes (Otter Tail County) – On Clitherall Lake, smallmouth bass will have 14- to 20-inch protected slot limit with one longer than 20 inches allowed in a possession of six. This regulation replaces the catch and release regulation that has been in place for the last 10 years. The regulation for largemouth and smallmouth bass on Sewell Lake has also been changed to a 14- to 20-inch protected slot limit. This replaces the 12- to 20-inch protected slot limit. Both lakes have quality populations of bass but managers believe these lakes can sustain quality fish while allowing additional harvest for bass shorter than 14 inches.
Big Mantrap (Hubbard County) – Black crappie will no longer have a 10-inch minimum length restriction but will continue to have a restricted bag limit of five. The minimum length limit was determined to be ineffective at increasing the size of crappie in Big Mantrap Lake.
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Until next time, stay warm and enjoy the beauty of winter and always respect the environment.
Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.