As expected given the late spring, the Department of Natural Resources announced today that it will be closing parts of several rivers in northwest Minnesota to fishing when the state’s walleye season opens Saturday. Most of the closures will extend through May 17 and are designed to protect concentrations of spawning walleyes, the DNR said.
In a news release, the DNR said the closures include the following portions of the Mississippi, Tamarac, Clearwater, Turtle and other rivers:
Closed through May 17
Blackduck River (Beltrami County): County Road 32 north to Red Lake Reservation boundary.
Clearwater River (Clearwater County): Below Clearwater Lake Dam for 900 feet.
Long Lake (Hubbard County): Below the inlet culvert south of State Highway 34.
Mississippi River (Beltrami County): Below Otter Tail Power Dam to Big Wolf Lake.
Otter Tail River (Becker County): Below Highway 10 culvert near Frazee.
Pelican River (Becker County): Below Bucks Mill Dam to Buck Lake.
Shotley Brook (Beltrami County): State Highway 72 to Upper Red Lake.
Tamarac River (Beltrami County): From Upper Red Lake upstream to the Beltrami-Koochiching county line.
Turtle River (Beltrami County): Below Three Island Dam to Turtle River Lake.
Closed May 9 until further notice
Toad River (Otter Tail County): Inlet to Big Pine Lake upstream to County Road 13.
Closed through May 24
Unnamed water (Hubbard County): Connection between Lake Emma and Big Sand Lake.
No fishing will be allowed during these periods in the specified areas, the DNR said, and signs will be posted at access points within the closed areas.
According to Henry Drewes, regional fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Bemidji, this is the first time since 2008 so many locations have been closed on the opener. Drewes said anglers also should practice catch-and-release to protect concentrations of spawning fish in other areas.
“The closures are necessary to protect adult walleye that have concentrated around historic spawning sites,” Drewes said. “It’s always a difficult decision to close the areas and restrict recreational opportunities, but our first responsibility is to the long-term health of the fishery.”
The closures don’t restrict boat travel through the affected areas.
For more information, click http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/recreation/fishing/seasonalclosures.pdf.