Anglers are invited to share their thoughts on proposed fishing regulations changes for the St. Croix River from the Taylors Falls dam to the confluence with the Mississippi River at Prescott, Wisconsin.
Below the dam, the proposed rules would simplify regulations for a variety of species by creating continuous seasons for walleye, northern pike and bass, and lower possession limits for those and several other species. Additionally, in the river from the Taylors Falls dam to the U.S. Highway 8 bridge, fishing would be closed March 2 through June 15 to protect spawning fish that are present in higher numbers below the dam.
“We want to maximize fishing opportunities and maintain sustainable fish populations,” said Joel Stiras, metro river specialist with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We’d like to know how anglers respond to these proposals and there are a variety of ways to let us know.”
Anyone can share their thoughts on the Engage with DNR webpage. A public in-person meeting about the proposed regulations is scheduled for 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at the Stillwater Public Library, Margaret Rivers B Room. People can also comment by calling Stiras at 651-259-5806, emailing at email@example.com opens in a new browser tab, or sending mail to Joel Stiras, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 1200 Warner Road, St. Paul, MN 55106.
The proposed regulation changes follow evaluations by the Minnesota DNR and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources looking at ways to simplify regulations in Minnesota-Wisconsin St. Croix River border waters. Most of the proposed changes would match the regulations of the Mississippi River border waters.
Summary of proposed changes:
The proposed expedited rules apply to the St. Croix River downstream of the Taylors Falls Dam. The proposed rule changes would clarify fishing season dates, modify fishing seasons as well as daily and possession limits for several fish species, and expand a fishing refuge downstream of the Taylor’s Falls Dam.
- Season Clarification. Due to the use of “to” and “through” to define open fishing seasons, inconsistencies and confusion have resulted. The proposed modifications would replace the use of “to” with the use of “through” to make sure the season dates are truly inclusive.
- St. Croix River Fisheries Management. St. Croix River fish populations are currently managed under a single set of regulations across the entire river system. Based on a joint Minnesota-Wisconsin evaluation of St. Croix River fisheries data, largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, crappie, flathead and channel catfish, sunfish, yellow perch, and white and yellow bass populations above and below the Taylor’s Falls dam should be managed differently to maximize fishing opportunities and maintain sustainable populations. Proposed changes include
- Change the open smallmouth and largemouth bass harvest season from the “Saturday preceding Memorial Day to March 1” to “Continuous.”
- Change the walleye and sauger daily and possession limit from “6 with a 15-inch minimum size limit for walleye” to a daily and possession limit of “4 with a 15-inch minimum size limit for walleye and only 1 walleye or sauger over 20 inches in length in possession.”
- Change the open walleye and sauger harvest season from the “Saturday nearest May 1 through March 1” to “Continuous.”
- Change the northern pike daily and possession limit from “5” to a daily and possession limit of “3 with only 1 over 30 inches in length in possession.”
- Change the open northern pike harvest season from the “Saturday nearest May 1 through March 1” to “Continuous.”
- Change the catfish daily and possession limit from “10 in aggregate” to “5 channel catfish with only 1 over 24 inches in possession and 2 flathead catfish with only 1 over 24 inches in possession.”
- Change the crappie daily and possession limit from “25” to a daily and possession limit of “15.”
- Change the sunfish daily and possession limit from “25 in aggregate” to a daily and possession limit of “15 in aggregate.”
- Change the yellow perch daily and possession limit from “25” to a daily and possession limit of “15.”
- Change the white and yellow bass daily and possession limit from “25 in aggregate” to a daily and possession limit of “10 in aggregate.”
- St. Croix River Fish Refuge. Game fish stack up below the Taylors Falls dam and need additional protections. The proposed rulemaking would establish a seasonal closure from March 2 through June 15 from the Taylor’s Falls Dam to the upstream side of the U.S. Highway 8 bridge.
- The online questionnaire asks a few questions about muskellunge and lake sturgeon, although no changes are proposed to those seasons at this time.