(Released January 12, 2015)
Anglers for the first time will be able to fish for trout in the winter on two dozen north-central Minnesota lakes, many of them within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.
Trout fishing on these lakes, which contain stream trout, will be open from Saturday, Jan. 17, through Tuesday, March 31. Stream trout are rainbow, brook and brown trout, and a hybrid of lake trout and brook trout called splake.
“These changes give anglers more opportunities to catch trout in the winter months,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We thought this would be a benefit to anglers with little risk of harming summer trout fishing.”
These lakes are not the only places to fish for trout in the winter. There are many trout lakes in northeastern Minnesota outside and inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. And anglers can fish for stream trout in streams in eight southeastern Minnesota counties. Details on all the seasons are available on the MN DNR trout regulations page.
The north-central Minnesota lakes have been open to trout fishing other times of year, but closed in winter since winter trout management began. Lakes open for the winter trout angling include:
- Aitkin County: Blue, Loon (in Savannah Portage State Park) and Taylor lakes.
- Becker County: Hanson Lake.
- Beltrami County: Benjamin Lake.
- Cass County: Diamond, Hazel, Margaret, Marion, Perch, and Teepee lakes.
- Crow Wing County: Huntington (Feigh, Martin) Mine Lake, Mallen Mine Lake, Manuel Mine Lake, Pennington (Alstead, Arco, Mahnomen) Mine Lake, Portsmouth Mine Lake, Sagamore Mine Lake, Snoshoe Mine Lake, Section 6 Mine Lake, Strawberry, and Yawkey Mine Lake.
- Hubbard County: Blacksmith, Blue, Crappie, and Newman lakes. Blue Lake has been open for winter trout fishing since 2008 and will continue to be open for winter fishing.
However, not all lakes in these counties will be open to winter trout fishing. Bad Medicine Lake in Becker County will remain closed for trout fishing but it is open for other species. The following trout lakes will remain closed in winter to all fishing:
- Crow Wing County: Allen and Pleasant lakes.
- Cass County: Little Andrus (aka: Snowshoe, near Outing).
Many of the lakes that are open are former pits used in mining, which have since filled with water and become fish habitat. Ice on these deep lakes sometimes takes longer to form than on other lakes.
“Ice anglers venturing out on these mine lakes should be extra cautious because mine lakes are much deeper, and therefore take longer to cool down in the fall, than natural lakes and ice is usually thinner than on other lakes,” Stevens said.
Since many of the lakes opening to winter fishing may have limited access, anglers should check access availability in advance.
Anglers are also reminded that fishing regulations differ on designated trout lakes. Anglers must possess a trout stamp to fish in designated trout lakes or to possess a trout taken from any lake or stream. Fishing hours are one hour before sunrise to 11 p.m. Anglers may only use one fishing line per angler, and no live minnows are allowed to be used as bait or as spearing decoys. Fishing is allowed only when the trout season is open.