Anglers can weigh in on whether to keep fewer bluegills from some Minnesota lakes as a way to protect and improve the sizes of one of the state’s most prized fish.

DNR area fisheries staff worked with local anglers and angling groups to identify lakes where bluegill size could be improved by lowering bag limits. Under this proposal, some lakes would have a bag limit of five bluegills and others a limit of 10. Reduced bag limits have worked on other Minnesota lakes in past years to maintain big bluegills under increasing fishing pressure. In some cases, the number of big bluegills in those lakes increased.

The statewide limit is 20 bluegills per angler. Bluegills are also known as sunfish.

The DNR has posted a list of proposed lakes designated for changes, as well as how people can provide input at mndnr.gov/sunfish. People can provide input now into this fall. The DNR will post informational signs at water accesses on lakes included in the proposal.

“We really want to get the public’s opinion on these regulations. A regulation only works if people support it,” Weitzel said.

This proposal is the result of years of discussion and the review of angler and lake survey data. Anglers said that they’re satisfied with the number of bluegills they catch, but that the size of the fish has been decreasing.

Based on input collected through the summer, the DNR will make any necessary changes to the proposal, and new regulations could go into effect March 1, 2021.

More information about sunfish biology and management can be found at mndnr.gov/sunfish.

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