The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is liberalizing fishing on Lake Wakanda in Kandiyohi County for a two-month period, effective Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, 2021. The liberalized fishing rules are in response to a lake rehabilitation project that will draw down water levels.
Minnesota residents with a fishing license may take for their personal use all species of fish in any quantity and in any manner except with the use of seines, hoopnets, fyke nets or explosives. Rough fish such as bullheads, carp, suckers and buffalo fish may be sold.
Anglers must obey all private property trespassing laws. Also, it is against the law to discard fish on shore or on lake ice.
As part of the Lake Wakanda rehabilitation project, the last of four fish barriers was installed in 2020. Those fish barriers will help limit the migration of rough fish into the lake. Drawing down water levels will reduce the lake’s existing carp population and improve water quality. The drawdown is consistent with the lake’s management plan. The DNR will lower lake levels by two and a half feet.
Drawdowns help mimic drought conditions, which act as a reset to a lake ecosystem by consolidating sediments, establishing vegetation and reducing rough fish populations. The practice also can create conditions conducive for winterkill, which can occur with lowered oxygen levels. Removal of rough fish helps towards achieving the goal of improving fish habitat as well as a more diverse fishery.
"Rather than just let those fish go to waste, we provide anglers an opportunity to instead harvest as many of them as they want," said DNR Spicer area fisheries supervisor Dave Coahran. “We just want to remind anglers to recreate responsibly and safely when out on the ice.”
Once the drawdown ends in the spring of 2022, fisheries crews will stock diverse game species in order to control rough fish populations and maintain desirable fish habitat.