Panfish and other species in the shallow waters of Pelican Lake, just west of St. Michael, might be in grave danger as polar vortices continue to build ice deeper than most can remember.
With fears of a massive winter kill on their mind, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are hoping ice fishers will take action and help with population control. They’ve opened the lake to unlimited fishing through Sunday, March 9.
“The early onset and bitter cold of winter 2013-14 have combined to make some shallow lakes susceptible to winterkill, prompting the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to open Pelican Lake in Wright County to liberalized fishing until sunset on March 9.
Winterkill conditions are created when sunlight is unable to penetrate the ice and oxygen levels in the water drop. Fish are often unable to survive in these low-oxygen conditions. Such lakes are opened so the public can make use of these fish, which are otherwise likely to die. Tests conducted on Friday, Feb. 28, showed oxygen levels less than 1 part per million throughout the lake.
On a lake open to liberalized fishing, licensed resident anglers may take for personal use all species of fish, in any quantity and in any manner, except with the use of seines, hoopnets, fyke nets or explosives. Rough fish such as bullheads, carp, suckers, and buffalo fish may be sold. If used, all gill nets must have metal tags affixed to the net stating the operator’s name and address; the tags must be attached to one end of the float line near the first float. Each tag must be a minimum of 2-1/2 inches by 5/8 inches.
Anglers are reminded that they must obey all laws regarding trespassing on private property, and that it is against the law to discard fish on shore or on the ice.
Find the latest information on lakes that are open to liberalized fishing and for detailed information about those lakes, online.”