News release: Whitefish and Cisco sport gill netting to open on select Tower area lakes

October 19, 2023

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has set dates for recreational netting of whitefish and cisco, also known as tullibee, on eight lakes in the Tower area.

  • Vermilion, Basswood, Fall and Newton lakes: open to netting Friday, Oct. 27, through Sunday, Nov. 12 (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, Nov. 3, through Sunday, Nov. 26 (minimum 3.5-inch mesh size).
  • Bear Island and Ojibway lakes: open to netting Friday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023 (minimum 1.75-inch mesh size).
  • Ely Lake is closed to sportnetting for 2023.

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 Minnesota DNR bases netting schedules on expected water temperatures, fish abundance and the vulnerability of game fish. As the water temperature cools, whitefish and cisco come to shallow water for fall spawning. Other species head to deeper water, so there is little chance their populations will be harmed by recreational netting in shallow water at that time. Fish other than cisco and whitefish 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 Minnesota DNR website or by contacting the Minnesota DNR’s Tower area office. 650 Highway 169, Tower, MN 55790, or calling 218-300-7802.

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