The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will hold an open house to collect public comments and share information on a proposal to review the existing experimental fishing regulation for northern pike on Pearl Lake in Stearns County.
The open house will be 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Holy Cross Catholic School, 10672 County Road 8, Kimball.
Under the experimental regulation, all northern pike from 24 inches to 36 inches must be immediately released and the possession limit is three, only one of which may be over 36 inches.
Since 2009, when the regulation began, the average size of northern pike has remained fairly small at 20 inches however the percentage of preferred sized northern pike (larger than 24 inches) has increased. In 2018, statewide zone-based regulations for northern pike began and without the experimental regulation Pearl Lake would fall into the North-Central Zone which is a 22 to 26-inch protected slot with a possession limit of 10 — of which only two can be greater than 26 inches. The zone regulation appears to be a good fit for Pearl Lake and may increase the average size of northern pike and still provide some protection for preferred sized fish.
Options under consideration include making the regulation permanent, modifying the existing regulation, or repealing the existing regulation and reverting to the North-Central Zone northern pike regulation.
In addition to the Sept. 27 open house, there will be a statewide open house to accept comments on this and other proposed regulations, listed on the Minnesota DNR website, from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the DNR Central Office, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
If adopted, the proposed regulation would go into effect with the May 11, 2024, fishing opener.
Comments about regulation changes being proposed can also be made online by visiting the Minnesota DNR website and taking the online survey. In addition, comments about the proposal can be directed to the DNR Sauk Rapids fisheries office at 320-223-7867, emailing [email protected], or by filling out the online survey. Written comments can be sent to DNR Sauk Rapids area fisheries, 1035 South Benton Drive, Sauk Rapids, MN 56379. Comments will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 13.