DNR reminds anglers of fishing regulation changes for 2012

May 14, 2012

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Minnesota anglers are reminded of new regulations on various water bodies and other changes for the general 2012 fishing season. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials said the changes are summarized on page 4 of the 2012 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet, which is available at any license agent or online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.

New regulations for 2012 are listed below along with the page number in the regulations booklet where anglers can find more detail.

Angling methods

A change permitting multiple hooks on a single line allows anglers to use a crawler harness (page 9).

A change allowing artificial lures/bait to have an additional hook (page 9) allows anglers to use a stinger hook (page 9).

A new specific prohibition on noodling clarifies an existing provision that prohibits taking fish by hand (page 10).

Fish identification

When size restrictions are in place for a specific body of water and a fish is consumed on a watercraft docked or moored to shore and anglers are physically on the water, anglers must retain the fish carcass with head, dorsal fin and tail intact.

Even after consumption, the fish must be counted as part of the possession limit.

Aquatic Invasive Species

Labeling from purchased dead bait must be retained (www.mndnr.gov/bait and page 12).

Bait buckets must be drained or have water exchanged if bait is kept prior to leaving any water body (page 12).

Drain plugs must be removed from all boating-related equipment prior to transporting (page 13).

A new list of waters infested with invasive species is provided (pages 16-25).

New restrictions on using fish taken from Lake Superior and its tributaries as bait are listed (page 33).

Catfish anglers may harvest bait in an infested waterbody and use that bait in the same water body, effective July 1.

The Minnesota Legislature repealed a requirement that watercraft display an aquatic invasive species (AIS) information sticker to avoid confusion when provisions of a new law go into effect in 2015.

Although no longer required, placement of stickers on boats is still encouraged as a reminder about important AIS information.

The new law will require operators of trailers transporting watercraft or water-related equipment to complete an online AIS training course, beginning in 2015.

When completed, trailer operators will receive a trailer sticker certifying their completion of the course.

Without repeal of the existing AIS sticker requirement, which was approved by the Legislature in 2011, display of both decals would have been required.

New experimental and special regulations were added or modified on six lakes and one stream with quality walleye, sunfish, crappie, brook trout or bass regulations (pages 34-54).

Length-based regulations on northern pike were dropped on 21 lakes.

Lakes with key changes include:
• Lake Vermilion (St. Louis County), walleye slot limit modified.
• Long Lake (Kandiyohi County), largemouth bass slot limit modified.
• Splithand, Little Splithand and Dixon lakes (Itasca County), panfish bag limits added.
• Lester Lake (Hubbard County), catch and release for all species added.
• Lawndale Creek (Wilkin County) catch and release for brook trout added.

Mille Lacs Lake walleye regulations were tightened. All walleye 17 to 28 inches must be immediately released.

The possession limit is four fish, with only one longer than 28 inches.

A night fishing closure on Mille Lacs begins at 10 p.m. on Monday, May 14, and lasts from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily through Sunday, June 10.

Night fishing on Mille Lacs begins at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11.

Anglers are reminded to check online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing for the latest additions or corrections.

Minnesota Fish Facts

Anglers and lakes

1.4 million licensed anglers.
2 million people fish.
Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, 5,400 of which are managed by DNR fisheries.

Participation and the economy

Fishing contributes $4.7 billion to the state’s economy.

Minnesota ranks fourth among states with the highest number of anglers. The top three states are Florida, Texas and California. Wisconsin is fifth.

As a percentage of population among those states, Minnesota boasts the largest number of resident anglers at 28 percent and is tied nationally with Alaska for the largest participation of resident anglers.

Anglers spend $2.8 billion on fishing each year in Minnesota.

Dollars directly spent on fishing in Minnesota create an additional $1.9 billion in economic activity, boosting angling’s total statewide economic impact to $4.7 billion.

Equipment (rods, reels, line, boats, trailers, etc.) accounted for $1.2 billion of the $2.8 billion spent.

Trip-related expenses accounted for $860 million. Other expenses such as bait and equipment rental accounted for $646 million.

Salaries, wages and business earnings directly related to fishing total $1.3 billion.

Fishing creates Minnesota 43,812 jobs.

Minnesota angling generates $350 million in federal tax revenues and $342 million in state and local tax revenues.

Who goes fishing?

Most resident anglers – 755,000 of them in fact – are from the seven-county metropolitan area.

The remaining 388,000 resident anglers live outside the Twin Cities.

Men account for 69 percent of resident anglers. Woman account for 31 percent.

The highest percentage of participation comes in the 35-44 year old age group.

Most of the remaining participants come from the 45-64 year old age group, with those 16-24 years old accounting for only 12 percent of the people who fish.

An estimated 40 percent of Minnesota anglers have household incomes of $50,000-$100,000.

Households that make less than $50,000 annually account for 27 percent of Minnesota anglers.

An estimated 388,000 children ages 6-15 go fishing each year, with Twin Cities-area kids accounting for 76 percent of the total.

Although close, more girls (52 percent) went fishing than boys (48 percent).

Participation among age groups (6-8 years, 9-11 years and 12-15 years) remained fairly constant.

Fishing habits

Significantly more time is spent fishing on lakes rather than rivers and streams.

The average Minnesota angler spends 20 days fishing each year, with 86 percent of resident anglers never fishing anywhere else but Minnesota.

Only 3 percent of Minnesota anglers try their luck on Lake Superior.

Most sought-after fish species (in order): walleye, bluegill, northern pike, crappie, bass.

Most resident anglers spend nearly half their time fishing for walleye and bluegill.

Governor signs license fee increase bill
From the DNR

The price of Minnesota hunting and fishing licenses will increase in March 2013 for the first time in 12 years, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

On Thursday, May 3, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a House- and Senate-approved bill that, among other things, raises the cost of an annual resident fishing license from $17 to $22 and a resident deer hunting license from $26 to $30.

Most resident youth hunting and fishing licenses will be $5 or free. Youth under 16 do not need a fishing or small game hunting license.

License fee increases were widely supported by hunting, fishing and conservation organizations.

The last general license fee increase was approved in 2000 and implemented in 2001.

“This action was critical to maintaining the world class fishing and hunting that Minnesota enjoys,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “I appreciate all the efforts of the organized groups and the individual hunters, anglers, trappers and others who supported new license prices. I also thank the Legislature for its bipartisan leadership and support on this important conservation initiative.”

Enacting the license fee bill maintains the solvency of the state’s Game and Fish Fund for the remainder of this biennium, which ends June 30, 2013.

New revenue will begin to come into the game and fish fund in March 2013.

The DNR estimates the fees will generate about $5 million in fiscal 2013 and approximately $10 million per year in following years.

“The fishing and hunting community has spoken that they are willing to pay for good conservation,” said Landwehr. “We will put these dollars to their highest and best use for game and fish management and enforcement. That means providing the results that hunters, anglers and the conservation community are asking for.”

Landwehr said specific uses of new license fee revenues will be proposed in the months ahead as the agency develops a biennial budget proposal that the governor will submit to the Legislature in January 2013.

Aquatic invasive species decal law changes
From the DNR

A slate of new laws designed to curb the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) was approved in a recent bill passed by the Minnesota Legislature and signed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

A program requiring watercraft owners to place an AIS rules sticker on their boats is being discontinued and replaced with an online education program.

Watercraft owners will no longer be required to place on their boats the rectangular, silver and black decals, which include a summary of the state’s AIS laws.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began distributing the decals earlier this year and will continue to give them to interested boat owners for informational purposes only.

A new law, which goes into effect 2015, will require anyone who transports watercraft or water-related equipment with a trailer to complete an online education course.

After completing the course, the person will receive a decal that must be placed on their trailer, certifying they have taken the course.

People taking the course can receive extra stickers if they own or use multiple trailers for watercraft or water-related equipment.

“The black and silver decal is no longer mandatory for boaters, but it is still a good informational tool to help boaters know the AIS laws,” said Luke Skinner, aquatic invasive species program supervisor. Boaters who have decals can still place them on their boats or trailers as a reminder.

He said the DNR will begin developing the online AIS course soon to implement the new decal requirement for 2015.

The penalty for not displaying the decal will be a warning, not a citation.

Other new AIS laws will be instituted July 1, 2012, as a result of the new legislation:

• Civil penalties for violating the state’s AIS laws will double. Fines that currently range from $50 to $250 will increase to $100 to $500, depending on the type of violation. For example, failure to remove a drain plug while transporting a watercraft will mean a $100 fine, instead of a $50 penalty. The fine for unlawfully possessing and transporting prohibited aquatic invasive species will increase from $250 to $500.

• Boat lifts, docks, swim rafts and other water-related equipment (except boats and other watercraft) that are removed from any water body may not be placed in another water body for at least 21 days. The drying out period is designed to kill any AIS that might be attached to the equipment that are high risk and difficult to clean. Two zebra mussel introductions occurred last year as a result of water equipment being sold and moved from one water body to another.

• Boat clubs, yacht clubs, marinas and other similar organizations are now considered lake-service providers, requiring permits for the clubs and staff working there to take AIS certification training.

• Portable bait containers used while fishing through the ice do not need to be drained before leaving a water body, unless the water body has been declared to have viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), a virus that is deadly to fish.

The DNR was given additional authority to require mandatory inspections of water-related equipment before a person places or removes equipment into or out of a water body and to set up inspection stations at a centralized location to cover multiple lakes.

The new legislation also allows the DNR to delegate this authority to local governments that have an approved inspection plan

More information about the DNR’s aquatic invasive species programs can be found at www.mndnr.gov/invasives.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) attended a day of training at camp Ripley.
CO Mies also checked anglers and turkey hunters.
CO Mies also stopped by and gave a law talk at the Wright County meeting of the lake association.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked turkey hunters, bow fishermen and anglers.
All activity and success rates were low with all the rainfall in the area.
Enforcement action was taken angling without a license.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked turkey hunters all week.
One turkey hunter shot a coyote chasing a deer and another hunter shot a coyote that attacked his turkey decoy.
Anglers were checked all week having very good success.
Litter complaints were investigated at public access sites.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) worked on a background investigation for a CO candidate.
Fishermen were checked in the metro area.
She responded to several TIP calls regarding fishing in a closed season, taking deer out of season, and extra lines.
She also performed a taxidermy inspection finding numerous violations.

• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked angling, boating, and AIS activity.
Additional time was spent checking turkey hunting and ATV activity.
Hatlestad also attended required training and began a background investigation for a Conservation Officer candidate.
Time was also spent preparing for a court case, and speaking at a FAS class in Grove City.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) spent the majority of his time following up on possible Wetland Conservation Act violations.
CO Oberg also fielded calls regarding the eaglet on the Minnesota Bound eagle camera and stayed in contact with the Raptor Center on the issue.
Officer Oberg also spent time checking shore anglers and turkey hunters in the area.