Panfish angling is a popular activity in the Itasca County area but some anglers have expressed concern about potential declines in quality-sized panfish.
After reviewing lakes with good panfish potential, changes to sunfish limits were proposed for six lakes as well as changes to crappie limits in three of the lakes. Lakes proposed for a reduced bag limit of five sunfish were: Dixon, Blackwater/Jay Gould, Cut Foot/Little Cut Foot, Splithand, Little Splithand and Sand (near Max). Reduced bag limits of five crappies were proposed on Dixon, Sand and Splithand.
Public input was taken this fall by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which completed a review of the available fish population data and the results of the public input process. As a result, three of the sunfish proposals and one of the crappie proposals will be implemented beginning in March 2012.
The objective of the reduced bag limit regulation proposals is to maintain quality fishing opportunities for sunfish and crappie. The populations are stable in all of the lakes and there is no crisis response needed.