Goal of revised muskie rules is bigger fish
Written by St. Paul Pioneer Press   
Monday, 25 December 2006 16:50

Are bigger muskies in Minnesota's future? The Department of Natural Resources hopes the answer is yes after a new muskie regulation takes effect in 2007.

Effective March 1, the minimum size limit for muskies will change from 40 inches to 48 inches on 46 Minnesota lakes and streams — including premiere trophy muskie lakes such as Leech Lake, Lake Mille Lacs, Vermilion Lake and Lake Bemidji.

The minimum size also affects the Big Fork and Little Fork rivers (Itasca and Koochiching counties) and portions of the Schoolcraft, Turtle, Boy and Prairie rivers.

In addition, the Mississippi River from below the Blandin Dam in Grand Rapids (Itasca County) to the Coon Rapids Dam in Hennepin County will become a catch-and-release area for muskies.

"It's a significant change,'' said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries program consultant. "The proposal got overwhelming support at our public meetings. The fish were already being managed as a trophy species, and this new minimum will help a lot of our water bodies."

Stevens said the proposal was brought to the DNR by muskie anglers. Some waters already are producing muskies in excess of 50 inches, and with the increased protection, some waters could start to produce fish in the upper-50-inch range, biologists say.

The state record is 54 inches long and 56 pounds, caught on Lake Winnibigoshish in 1957. Lake Winnibigoshish is among the lakes getting the new minimum-size limit.

Minnesota has 81 lakes with fishable muskie populations.
 
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