A bill passed during the 2013 legislative session has repealed the spearing restrictions on 12 Minnesota lakes including Deer, Moose, North Star and Spider lakes in Itasca County. The lakes are open to darkhouse spearing effective today, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“It was a common practice in the 1960s and early 70s to prohibit spearing on waters managed for muskies,” said Chris Kavanaugh, Department of Natural Resources area fisheries supervisor. “At one time there were a number of lakes in Itasca County that had spearing bans. Now there are none.”
Spearing of muskellunge is still illegal in Minnesota waters. Those participating in spearing activities are responsible for properly identifying fish before spearing them.
Recent DNR gill net data show 0.3 northern pike per net in Deer, 1.8 per net in North Star, 2.9 per net in Moose, and 9.1 per net in Spider. When compared to the northern pike abundance in other similar waters, Deer, North Star and Moose are relatively low, while Spider Lake is considered high.
There are special regulations still in effect for northern pike on North Star and Spider lakes. These lakes have a 24- to 36-inch protected slot for northern pike. These protected slots prohibit the harvest of any fish within the slot, regardless of the method used to take fish.
All other regulations related to spearing, angling and shelters will apply on these waters.
For more information, contact DNR area fisheries office at 218-327-4430, by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/grandrapids/index.html.