News release: Whitefish and Cisco sport gillnetting to open on select Grand Rapids 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 six lakes in the Grand Rapids area.

  • Deer and Turtle lakes (Itasca County): open to netting Friday, Oct. 27, through Sunday, Dec. 3 (minimum 3.5-inch mesh size for both lakes).
  • Big Balsam, Nashwauk, South Sturgeon lakes (Itasca County) and Side Lake (St Louis County): open to netting Friday, Nov. 3, through Sunday, Dec. 10 (minimum 1.75-inch mesh size).

Statewide, 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 DNR’s Grand Rapids area office, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, or calling 218-328-8836.

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