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DNR officials expanding muskie fishing opportunities

Roosevelt Lake in northern Crow Wing County and the Sauk River chain of lakes in Stearns County southwest of St. Cloud will be stocked with muskellunge this fall in response to growing angler interest, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials.

"This decision is a positive step consistent with our long-range management plan for muskie and northern pike," said Dirk Peterson, DNR fisheries management chief. "Many people representing a wide variety of interests helped create that plan, and the desire to develop new muskie fisheries was clear."

Results of the DNR's public comment process in 2010 showed that about 80 percent of the 25,000 comments received supported stocking muskies in additional lakes. The substance of all comments, regardless of support or opposition, were factored into the DNR's decision.

Muskie will not be stocked this fall in three other lakes the DNR was considering. Upper and Lower South Long lakes near Brainerd will not be considered further for muskie management. Stocking in Lake Tetonka west of Waterville has been put on hold indefinitely pending resolution of local issues.

Stocking muskie in Roosevelt Lake and the Sauk River chain is a step toward fulfilling a goal in the long-range management plan that calls for up to eight new waters to be stocked by 2020, focused on areas of the state without nearby muskie fishing opportunity.