The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has set dates for recreational netting of whitefish and cisco, also known as tullibee, on seven lakes in the Tower fisheries work area. These lakes are Schedule I waterbodies, which are more susceptible to sudden changes that impact water temperatures and are opened and closed on a 48-hour notice posted on the DNR website and other public places.
Schedule I Lakes:
- Vermilion, Basswood, Fall and Newton lakes: open to netting Friday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 6 (minimum 3.5-inch mesh size for Vermilion and Newton lakes and minimum 1.75-inch mesh size for Basswood and Fall lakes).
- Shagawa: open to netting Friday, Oct. 28, through Sunday, Nov. 20 (minimum 3.5-inch mesh size).
- Bear Island and Ojibway lakes: open to netting Friday, Nov. 25, through Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023 (minimum 1.75-inch mesh size).
Vermilion, Basswood, Fall, Newton and Shagawa lakes are designated as infested with spiny waterflea so netters should review rules that help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
About 700 people obtain special permits to net for whitefish and cisco (tullibee) each year. Fishing regulations require netters to purchase both a whitefish netting license and an angling license.
The DNR bases netting schedules on expected water temperatures, fish abundance and the vulnerability of game fish. As the water temperature cools, game fish head to deeper water and whitefish and cisco come to shallow water for fall spawning. Netting is allowed when there is little chance that game fish populations would be harmed by recreational netting in shallow water. Game fish incidentally taken in nets must be returned to the water immediately.
Complete information about sport gill netting by lake, minimum mesh sizes, and fishing regulations can be found on the DNR website or contact the DNR’s Tower area office, 650 Highway 169, Tower, MN 55790, or call 218-300-7802.