The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced today that it will close a portion of the Cut Foot Sioux flowage northwest of Deer River from the Minnesota fishing opener on May 10 through May 16. The closed area is from Williams Narrows upstream through the First River Flowage up to Egg Lake. No fishing will be allowed during this time period. Signs will be posted at the narrows and other access points within the closed area.
Because of the late ice cover and the early walleye opener, concentrations of walleyes remain near the DNR’s egg-collection operation at Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake.
“The closure is necessary to protect adult walleye that have concentrated around the spawning site,” said Chris Kavanaugh, DNR area fisheries manager at Grand Rapids. “It’s always a difficult decision to close the area and restrict recreational opportunities, but our first responsibility is to the long-term health of the fishery. We considered the protection offered with the protected slot limit but felt the risk of overharvest was too high.”
There was still significant ice cover on Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake on Wednesday, and egg collection activities had not started. Typically, the lake needs to be ice-free for at least three days before activities begin.
This area also was closed in 2013, 2008, 1997 and 1996, Kavanaugh said.
Although this area is closed to fishing through the first week of the season, there are no restrictions on boat travel through the area. All of the campgrounds, resorts and public accesses in the area are open. Shore anglers may want to consider alternative opportunities at the Winnie Dam, DNR officials said.
For more information, contact the DNR area fisheries office at (218) 327-4430 or by e-mail at Grandrapids.Fisheries@dnr.state.mn.us.