News release: DNR seeks input on walleye, lake trout regulations in Itasca County

September 12, 2022

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking for input on special walleye fishing regulations for Island and Round lakes, and lake trout regulations for Caribou Lake in northern Itasca County.

A new lake trout regulation of a 20-inch minimum length and a one fish limit is being considered for Caribou Lake to protect spawning-aged fish and allow them to spawn at least once before being susceptible to harvest. Caribou Lake produces a self-sustaining population of lake trout. DNR has used fish stocking in an attempt to increase trout numbers on Caribou Lake, but stocked fish have not survived, and the population appears dependent on natural reproduction. 

The current 17- to 26-inch protected slot limit walleye regulations are being reviewed on Island Lake (near Northome) and Round Lake (near Squaw Lake) in the Grand Rapids area. Survey data suggest that the fisheries could support additional harvest, so fisheries managers are recommending relaxing the existing regulation to a 20- to 24-inch protected slot limit. As an alternative, the protective slot limit could be dropped in favor of the statewide limit (six fish with one over 20 inches). 

“The protected slot limits have helped maintain good walleye fisheries in these lakes, but we see some opportunity to offer more harvest and would like to hear from anglers about their experiences on these waters and which regulation option they prefer,” said Dave Weitzel, Grand Rapids area fisheries supervisor.  

For those who want to provide input in person, an open house will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Bigfork City Hall, 200 Main St., in Bigfork. Written comments can be sent by U.S. mail to DNR Grand Rapids Area Fisheries, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, or emailed to [email protected].

Anyone can provide input about this and other area proposals currently open for review via an online survey that is available through Monday, Oct. 17. General input may also be submitted to Jon Hansen at [email protected] or 651-259-5239, or via U.S. mail to Fishing Regulations, c/o Jon Hansen, Box 20, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.

A Twin Cities metro area open house to receive input on all proposals will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the DNR’s Central Office at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul.

Notification of the proposed changes to special fishing regulations have been posted at the accesses to each lake included in the proposal. If enacted, the proposed regulations would take effect for the 2023 fishing season.