The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has new sunfish regulations that took place this March. While you can catch sunfish now, more anglers will be out next weekend for the Minnesota fishing opener.

Here's a good reminder that you can catch sunfish and crappies with the free Take Mom Fishing weekend. Moms don't need a fishing license this year on May 7-8.

It usually coincides with the fishing opener for walleye and pike, but not this year. The DNR still urges you to get out for those panfish.

It's a good idea to check to make sure that your lake doesn't have the new sunfish regulations.

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They are calling it the quality sunfish initiative. Advances in fishing technology and instant communication with social media have caused the population of some sunfish to go down in certain identified lakes. The "QSI" was started because of too small sunfish, and the lack of sunfish in those lakes.

What is a sunfish?

Minnesota DNR
Minnesota DNR

Here's what the DNR identifies as sunfish:

Sunfish is a generic name for a group fish that includes bluegill, pumpkinseed, green sunfish, orange-spotted sunfish, longear, warmouth and their hybrids.

Will the new limit affect daily or overall limits?

The DNR says that if your lake is on the new restrictions, the daily limit will be affected. Overall you are still allowed to have 20 fish in your freezer. If your lake has a new limit of 5, you may only catch and keep 5 per day, and up to 20 in your freezer total. Make sense?

Catherine Yeulet

Duluth area lakes affected by new regulations:

  • Moosehead Lake, Carlton County, sunfish & crappie, daily limit 5 each
  • Elliot Lake, St. Louis County, sunfish daily limit 5
  • Fish Lake, St. Louis County, sunfish & crappie, daily limit 5 each
  • Strand Lake, St. Louis County, sunfish & crappie, daily limit 5 each
  • White Face Reservoir, St. Louis County, sunfish & crappie, daily limit 5 each
  • Wild Rice Reservoir, St Louis County, sunfish & crappie, daily limit 5 each

You can find the full list for all the Minnesota lakes affected by QSI on the DNR's website.

A person holding a black crappie

Why are crappies also being listed?

The DNR highlighted new sunfish regulations but also listed crappie limits as well with the lake. Some of these lakes already had lower crappie limits set in place.

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