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Public comment due on muskie and northern pike management

Interested in how the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages inland lakes for muskellunge and northern pike during the next 12 years?

You have until Feb. 15 to review and comment on the agency's draft long-range plan.

"Fisheries staff developed this plan with considerable input from anglers," said Jason Moeckel, DNR Fisheries operations manager.

"The DNR's goal is to create more opportunities for people to catch large northern pike and trophy-sized muskellunge."

Building on plans implemented in 1986 and 1994, this plan takes into consideration growing angler interest in landing large muskellunge and northern pike, Moeckel said.

A recent survey indicates that 14 percent of resident, licensed anglers target muskellunge when fishing and 60 percent of people who have not fished for muskellunge would like to.

"Interest in muskies and large pike is growing but the opportunities are limited," Moeckel said. "The purpose of this plan is to guide fisheries management to increase those opportunities."

Some of the recommendations in the draft plan include:

  • Adding eight new muskellunge lakes by 2020 to the existing 90 lakes that now offer the pure-strain species.
  • Managing muskellunge populations for trophy angling opportunities through stocking, size regulations, season closures, existing spearing bans and promoting voluntary catch and release.
  • Maintaining spearing opportunities for northern pike.

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