The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN-DNR) is committed to the conservation,protection, management, use, and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations. As such we are often asked how we have developed the different experimental and special regulations and how do they work.
Different regulations are used to achieve different management goals. Some of the more common regulations are:
Minimum Size Limits: These prohibit the harvest of fish below a certain length. Minimum size limits are used to prevent over-harvest and to protect juvenile fish to reach sexual maturity.
Maximum Size Limits: These prohibit the harvest of fish above a certain length. Maximum size limits are rare, but can be beneficial in lakes where relatively few sexually mature fish exist and spawning success is low.
Slot Limits: These are regulations that either prohibit the harvest of fish within a certain length range or allows the harvest of fish within a certain length range.
There are two types of slot limits:
- Protected Slot Limits allow the harvest of abundant small fish as well as some of the larger adults while protecting the more viable reproductive fish in the population
- Harvest Slot Limits allow the harvest of fish within that specified length range.
Creel (Bag) Limits: These types of regulations are generally used as a means to prevent over-harvest and to distribute the harvest over a longer period of time and among many anglers.
Experimental and special regulations
Many times management goals are not fully achieved using one regulation alone and therefore a combination of regulations might be used. In 2003, the MN-DNR developed a set of regulations for walleye, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, black crappie, and sunfish. These sets of regulations were developed to achieve both management goals and to simplify the number of special regulations. These sets of regulations have be used since 2003. The following summaries describe the rationale behind these experimental and special regulations.