Muskellunge will be released this fall in the Gull Lake chain of lakes near Brainerd and the Fairmont chain of lakes in southern Minnesota as part of an effort to establish new muskie angling opportunities throughout the state.
“We listened to and considered the more than 1,800 public comments we received during the past two years,” said Don Pereira, fisheries section chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We want to thank everyone who helped guide this process.
“Our lakes are Minnesota’s most important natural resource and that’s one reason public participation is so important. The majority of the responses were positive and supportive of diversifying these fisheries in the Gull Lake and Fairmont chain of lakes and expanding opportunities that will benefit these areas recreationally and economically.”
The public input process and local discussions also prompted the DNR to decide not to stock Big Marine Lake in Washington County and to withdraw the proposal to stock the Franklin, Lizzie or Loon lakes in Otter Tail County.
Stocking muskie is part of an effort to respond to a growing interest in muskie fishing. Estimates suggest that a significant proportion of the state’s anglers either already target muskies or want to try muskie fishing.
“Minnesota is the crown jewel for muskie fishing in the United States,” said Al Lindner, one of Minnesota’s most well-known anglers who also produces educational fishing programs. “Creating more places to catch muskie where it’s biologically appropriate provides more than fishing opportunity for a growing number of younger anglers. It also offers a great economic benefit to resorts and tourism.”
Several years ago, the DNR prepared a long-range plan designed to balance interest in expanded muskie fishing opportunities with those opposing muskie management and continued stocking. The compromise reached in this plan called for eight new waters to be stocked with muskie by 2020. Three of those lakes – Roosevelt, Pokegema and the Sauk River Chain – already have been stocked.
Last year, the DNR proposed several new waters for stocking and began asking the public for comments and meeting with angling groups, local governments, lake associations, property owners associations and others. This input was taken into account along with data from angler surveys and biological assessments.
Additional information, including a summary of more than 1,800 comments about the stocking proposals and DNR responses, is available on the DNR’s muskie management page at www.mndnr.gov/muskie.