News release: Fish and Wildlife Almanac, May 1

May 1, 2023

Regional fishing reports available from DNR in preparation for opener

Anglers looking for local information before the Saturday, May 13 fishing opener can look at the regional fishing reports from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. These reports include details about waters in each region and can be found on the DNR website.

‘Catch’ the fun of shore fishing this season

For people who want to go fishing but don’t have a boat or don’t want to use a boat, the DNR has two instructional videos about how to catch fish from shore. The videos can be found on the DNR website by searching “shore fishing." Shore Fishing 101 covers general shore fishing basics and Shore Fishing 102 focuses on river fishing from shore.

For those fishing in the Twin Cities area, the DNR has a map of accessible piers and shore fishing locations, and lakes stocked with fish at the DNR’s Fishing in the Neighborhood page. Stocking in many area lakes is happening through the end of May. For fishing locations across the entire state, the DNR has a map of fishing piers and shore fishing locations on the DNR website.

DNR offers tips on how to catch, release fish

Anglers who intend to release any of the fish they catch can boost the chances those fish will survive by following best practices for catch and release:

  • Plan fishing trips around the weather and the species, keeping in mind that cold and cool water fish such as brown and brook trout, and walleye and northern pike, might experience more stress during hot weather. Then choose the right tackle for the job and avoid “playing” a fish too long — land it quickly to reduce the buildup of lactic acid in the body.
  • Set the hook quickly to avoid hooking a fish in the stomach or gills. Before handling the fish, anglers should wet their hands to prevent removal of the fish’s protective slime coating. If possible, unhook and release the fish while it is still in the water. If a hook is deep in the fish, cut the line and leave the hook in the fish.
  • When holding the fish out of the water, support it with both hands using a firm, gentle grip. It is OK to measure the fish and take a photo – however, minimize the time the fish is out of the water. Anglers intending to release a fish should not place it on a stringer or in a live well.
  • To release a fish, hold it horizontally in the water by cradling it under its belly. If needed, revive the fish by slowly moving it forward in the water until it swims away. An alternative to this method is cupping your hand and splashing water into the fish’s mouth and out the gills while holding the fish on the surface of the water. Harvest a fish that can be legally kept if it is bleeding extensively or cannot right itself in the water.

Walleye and crappie caught in deeper than 30 feet of water might not survive if released, so avoid these depths if planning to practice catch and release.

Find other catch-and-release tips related to fishing equipment, and a video of how to handle large fish like flathead catfish, lake sturgeon or muskellunge, at the DNR catch and release page.

DNR proposes changes to whitefish and cisco seasons and netting

Recreational netters and anglers are invited to comment on rules that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is proposing to modify the seasons and lakes associated with whitefish and cisco netting. The DNR is accepting comments through 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 26.

Whitefish and cisco sport netting is open to Minnesota residents only. About 700 Minnesotans participate each year in the fall, when water temperatures cool and whitefish and cisco move to shallow water for spawning.

Each year for these netting seasons, one group of lakes opens on a 48-hour notice based on conditions (Schedule I), while another group opens according to pre-set dates (Schedule II). The proposed rules would move both the start and end dates of Schedule II - Season A back one week.

Additionally, the proposed rules adjust which lakes will be included in each schedule: Ely, Green and Mille Lacs lakes would be removed from Schedule I and Big Bass and Jack lakes would be removed from Schedule II; Big Balsam, Greenwood, Ida, Nashwauk, Rachel, Side and South Sturgeon lakes would be moved from Schedule I to Schedule II; and Welch Lake would be added to Schedule II.

DNR cautions lake and river property owners about improper use of hydraulic jets

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources frequently receives questions about devices that generate water current to blast muck and aquatic plants away. They have various trade names, but the DNR refers to these devices generically as hydraulic jets. Even though they can be purchased in Minnesota, they cannot be used in any way that disturbs the bottom of a waterbody or uproots plants.

A person may legally operate a hydraulic jet if it is placed at the surface of the water in a way such that it does not disturb the bottom or destroy rooted aquatic plants. It should be directed slightly upward toward the water’s surface. This can prevent dead vegetation and duckweed from collecting around docks and boat lifts.

Aquatic plants are important to lakes and rivers. They help maintain water clarity, prevent erosion, stabilize the bottom of the waterbody, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife. Aquatic plants are protected under state law.

Specific regulations govern what situations require permits for aquatic plant removal. Regulations and a guide to aquatic plants can be found on the DNR website. To apply for an aquatic plant management permit, visit the DNR’s permitting and reporting system.

DNR webinars cover fishing for freshwater drum, catching walleye on opening weekend

The DNR invites people interested in fishing, wildlife and outdoor skills to tune in to upcoming webinars that feature discussions about fishing for freshwater drum, also called sheepshead, and catching walleye on opening weekend.

The first webinar is Wednesday, May 3. Chris Domeier, DNR Ortonville area fisheries supervisor, will discuss when, where and how to fish for freshwater drum in Minnesota. He’ll also cover their life history and how to clean and cook this often overlooked, native and tasty species.

The second webinar is Wednesday, May 10. Join DNR Fisheries staff and walleye fishing experts for a discussion on what to expect for the upcoming fishing opener and tips on how to catch early season walleye. The discussion will focus on southern Minnesota ahead of the 2023 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener, which is in Mankato. The inland water walleye season opens Saturday, May 13.

The webinars are part of the DNR’s Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship Series. The webinars are free, but registration is required. More information is available on the outdoor skills and stewardship page of the DNR website.

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