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Minnesota Fishing Reports
News : 
Posted by LSF on Jan 29, 2010 (1428 reads) News by the same author

Anglers in search of a hot walleye bite rediscovered Leech Lake in 2009.

Doug Schultz, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) large lake specialist, said fishing pressure during the open water season totaled 785,000 hours, the highest total observed since 1999.

“It was great to see so many anglers returning to town and their favorite stretch of structure,” Schultz said. “And they weren’t disappointed. The walleye catch rate was nearly a fish an hour and the harvest rate was a quarter of that. Those are strong numbers. ”

Schultz attributed the success to a combination of factors, including a special walleye regulation, habitat conservation, walleye stocking and cormorant control. The fishery, he said, is in good shape for the upcoming ice fishing and 2010 open water seasons.

“Our 2009 netting surveys indicate walleye, perch and northern pike populations remain above long-term averages,” Schultz said. “That’s good news for anglers and benefitting businesses alike.”

Joe Mix, DNR assistant regional fisheries manager, said the DNR aims to maintain Leech Lake as a premier fishery and angling destination. He said the agency is already working with a citizen committee to adopt another five-year fisheries management plan similar to the one that will expire in 2010.

“DNR staff and citizens of the Leech lake community have learned a lot in the last five years,” Mix said. “Our intent is to build on that knowledge to sustain a strong fishery for years to come.”

Work of Walleye Advisory Committee
The new Leech Lake Walleye Planning Advisory Committee comprises 17 stakeholders who represent diverse interests from around the state. The committee makes recommendations to the agency on walleye stocking, fishing regulations, cormorant management and habitat protection.

In addition to local citizens who represent the Leech Lake Fishing Task Force, Leech Lake Watershed Foundation and the Leech Lake Association, the advisory committee includes representatives from outside the Walker area who involved in organizations such as the Izaak Walton League and the newly created Anglers for Habitat.

“Leech, like Minnesota’s other big waters, is a multi-faceted lake of statewide significance,” Mix said. “The committee makeup reflects this.”

The group has met five times since August and is scheduled to finalize its recommendations by late winter or early spring. These recommendations and other public input will be considered when the DNR approves the final Leech Lake plan for 2011-2015.

“A lot of the committee work has revolved around building a common understanding of the issues and the realities of resource management,” Mix said. “The committee has met with a University of Minnesota fisheries geneticist, top DNR research biologists and a fisheries manager involved with the Red Lake walleye recovery. These have been good, informative conversations that will help shape recommendations.”

Mix encourages people to learn more about the committee and its work by visiting http://mndnr.gov/fisheries/management/llfmp.html. The web page contains the technical materials that committee members receive and review during their meetings.

Those not directly involved in the citizen advisory committee will have an opportunity to review and comment on its recommendations when they are completed later this winter.



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