FYI: Comment Period Open on Proposed Change to Trout Regulations

There has been chatter for a while now regarding potential changes to regulations and extending trout seasons in southeast Minnesota. It is now open for public comment until February 11th, 2013. (thanks for the info, brntrout)

Below is the notice for public comment from the December 10th, 2012 edition of the MN State Register. I’ve highlighted the proposed changes in regulations applicable to the trout-y folk.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Division of Fish and Wildlife
REQUEST FOR COMMENTS on Possible Amendments to and Repeal of Rules
Governing Fishing Regulations and Aquatic Plant Requirements, Minnesota Rules,
Chapters 6212, 6262, 6264, 6266, and 6280
Subject of Rule. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requests comments on its possible amendments to and repeal of rules governing various fishing regulations. The proposed rules would: make changes related to trout angling in southeastern Minnesota; repeal obsolete rules; make changes to improve consistency in trout fishing regulations and other fishing regulations on border waters; propose changes in fishing seasons for some species; make changes due to statutory changes; and make the specific changes described below.

Licenses and Permits
Repeal obsolete rules in Chapter 6212, subparts 6212.0100 through 6262.1300 due to the development and implementation of the electronic licensing system. These rules are either no longer pertinent to the sale of a license, or are covered in Chapter 6213.

Fishing Regulations and Requirements
– Remove the barbless hook gear restrictions on all designated trout streams and seasons in southeast.
– Clarify the regulations regarding gear restrictions (artificials and flies only) for southeast Minnesota trout streams.
– Extend the current southeast winter season to all designated trout streams in southeast Minnesota
– Allow catch-and-release angling on designated trout streams in some southeast Minnesota State Parks from October 15th to December 31st.
– Extend the current southeast Minnesota fall catch-and-release season to October 15th.
– Consider opening lakes for trout fishing that are currently closed to winter fishing.
– Consider adding regulations to manage smelt harvest on Grindstone Lake in Pine County.
– Add or delete lakes listed as open to whitefish and cisco netting, specifically open Spring Lake in Itasca County (near Spring Lake, Minnesota).
– Consider prohibiting the taking of flathead catfish during the winter. (Cite 37 SR 915) State Register, Monday 10 December 2012 Page 915

Official Notices
– Consider other water bodies for catch-and-release seasons for sturgeon.
– Clarify the rule or make them consistent with other laws.
– Change or add to existing fishing regulations to reflect recently enacted statute changes, make other existing emergency rules permanent, or eliminate obsolete or redundant rules.

Border Waters
– Changes in spearing rules and clarifications of angling rule for South Dakota border waters.
– Changes in regulations for the Minnesota border waters to make them consistent between the states, especially those that
are now different on the Iowa and Wisconsin borders.
– Changes in regulations on the Canadian border to either make them consistent with inland regulations or standardize opening dates for specific water bodies, including walleye on Basswood Lake in Lake County.
Aquatic Plants
– Eliminate obsolete or redundant rules that are part of the standards for aquatic plant management permit issuance regarding lotus protection.

Persons Affected. The rules may affect anglers, whitefish and cisco netters, and people who fish for trout. Individuals and businesses, such as resorts, motels, stores, and guides that provide goods or services to anglers may also be affected. Individuals and businesses that use or own property on or bordering Minnesota waters may be affected. The public and businesses that receive aquatic plant permits
might be affected.

Statutory Authority. The adoption of the rules is authorized in general by Minnesota Statutes, section 97A.045, subds. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, that describes the general powers and duties of the commissioner of natural resources to protect wild animals, modify seasons, regulate boundary waters, and prescribe permits and licenses; and Minnesota Statutes, section 97A.501, subds. 1 and 2, that authorizes the Department to regulate the taking, buying, selling, transporting, and possession of protected wild animals and endangered species. Other statutory authorities specific to the areas being considered for changes are as follows:
Minnesota Statutes, sections 14.05; 14.3895; 97C.205 (b); 97C.401; 97C.345, subd. 5; 97C.411; 97C.415;
97C.395; 97C.041; 97C.325; 97C.371; 97C.375; 97C.001; 97C.005; 97C.805, subd. 1; and 103G.615.
Public Comment. Interested persons or groups may submit comments or information on these possible rules in writing or orally until 4:30 p.m. on Monday, February 11, 2013. The DNR does not anticipate appointing an advisory committee to comment on the possible rules.

Rules Drafts. The DNR has not yet prepared a draft of the possible rules amendments or repeals and does not anticipate that a draft of the rules will be available before the publication of the proposed rules.
Agency Contact Person. Written or oral comments, questions, requests to receive a draft of the rules when it has been prepared, and requests for more information on these possible rules should be directed to:

Linda Erickson-Eastwood
Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, Box 20
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-4020
linda.erickson-eastwood@state.mn.us
Telephone: (651) 259-5206
or 1-888-MINNDNR
TTY users may call the Department at (651) 296-5484 or 1-800-657-3929

Leave a reply