The DNR manages fisheries in 4,500 lakes across Minnesota by following an annual cycle of work. A fisheries lake management plan both drives and describes that cycle of work.
Each lake plan provides some general ecological background, lays out constraints for the fish populations and then offers a goal for the fishery. Objectives are set to determine whether the goal is realized and the work needed to achieve those objectives is outlined in the plan.
Lake surveys are conducted as work progresses to determine whether the plan is working and objectives are being achieved.
Plans are updated on a regular basis so goals and objectives and the work to acheive them can be analyzed, assessed and adjusted based on progress made on work detailed in the last plan and a complex and changing natural world with competing stakeholder interests.
With a combined surface area of more than 825,000 acres, Minnesota's 10 largest lakes account for about 40 percent of the annual statewide walleye harvest and make a significant contribution to the $2.4 billion spent each year on fishing in Minnesota.
Each of these crown jewels of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes has a specialist assigned to it for annual monitoring and research.
Fisheries management plans developed for large lakes serve the same purpose as those for area lakes but management plans for lakes such as Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs and Upper Red are developed using a more structured engagement and input process.