Lake Vermilion Conservation Fishery Recommendations

Lake Vermilion is experiencing a large increase in fishing pressure. With the Canadian border closure, the resorts, fishing guides, launch inspectors and others are all reporting a substantial increase in fishing pressure, probably unprecedented. Resort owners, fishing guides, Bois Forte, and the VLA Board of Directors are concerned this increase in fishing pressure could, and likely will have an adverse impact on the fishery. It is expected this fishing pressure will continue into 2021.

Therefore, a committee has been formed to address this issue, with the intent of providing recommended approaches to the public for reduced fishing limits, called “conservation limits”. Conservation limits have been successfully implemented in Ontario, where there are strong efforts to encourage conservation limits. These regulations in Canada involve a different license (at a reduced cost). In our case, these would be recommendations, and will not be enforced by the DNR. To our knowledge, no one else in Minnesota has attempted to implement “recommended conservation limits”.

The MN DNR does offer a conservation license at a modest reduction in cost ($7 individual/$15 couple lower cost) for residents only.  The MN conservation license is not purchased by very many people.   The team that was formed developed Lake Vermilion conservation limits as a recommendation for those people fishing the lake.  Basically, these are the same conservation limits that the MN DNR uses for the conservation licenses that they sell.  The recommendations as shown below include the limits on fish and size recommendations as well.  The sizes are recommendations from the team to help preserve the quality of the fishery.

The following shows the current DNR regulations and the conservation recommendations:



We all need to consider the facts that not only fishing pressure but new electronics, social media on hot bites, and fishermen are just smarter and able to catch more fish of all kinds.  We all need to consider the resource as limited and we can not continue to catch small walleyes under 10 inches from deep water and throw back several dead walleyes before keeping one. Keep the fish as part of your limit if the stomach is sticking out of the gullet. Do not throw back deeply hooked fish after trying to extract the hook.  These activities can not be controlled under any regulations and require the fisher person to act responsibly on their own and practice more careful release of the fish so that more people can enjoy the fight and experience.

We plan to have a waterproof card with the conservation recommendations for distribution by guides, resorts, businesses, marinas, and at launch sites this summer.

We thank you for your effort to follow these recommendations. 

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