For the first time in nearly 70 years, Minnesota and Wisconsin are proposing notable changes to border waters fishing regulations — and the Minnesota DNR wants the public to weigh in on them.

“We wholeheartedly welcome public input,” said Kevin Stauffer, the DNR area fisheries supervisor in Lake City. “The proposed regulations are intended to help sustain high quality fish populations and the great fishing opportunities these Mississippi River border waters offer.”

The proposed rules, which are available on the DNR’s website, would lower possession limits, and change some length limits, for walleye and sauger, northern pike, channel and flathead catfish, shovelnose sturgeon, crappie, sunfish, yellow perch, and white and yellow bass in the Mississippi River, including Lake Pepin.  Some examples include:

• Walleye and sauger limit to decrease from 6 to 4.

• Crappie, sunfish, and yellow perch limit to decrease from 25 to 15 each.

• White and yellow bass limit to decrease from 25 to 10.

The proposed changes are proactive measures that would help both states manage the effects that changing river conditions, invasive species, and angling effectiveness have on fish.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has proposed identical changes.

With the exception of minimum size limits for bass (14 inches) and walleye (15 inches) implemented in 1990, possession and size restrictions for gamefish on the Minnesota and Wisconsin border waters of the Mississippi River have been largely unchanged for the last seven decades.  The current proposed changes to bag and size limits for most gamefish species were developed from biological data and input obtained from public meetings in May and November of 2018.

The Minnesota DNR is accepting public comments through Oct. 4. The DNR is using an expedited rulemaking procedure to make these changes effective by March 2020 — Wisconsin intends to make its corresponding rule changes at this same time.

Comments must be in writing and submitted to Shannon Fisher, Division of Fish and Wildlife, MN DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155, or emailed to him at shannon.fisher@state.mn.us. Questions also should be directed to Fisher.

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