Despite the late spring, worrying avid anglers that ice-out on lakes would never come, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports most large lakes in the area have lost their icy coating.
Before grabbing those poles and lures, however, take a look at the new regulations, new license fees and status of local lakes.
Mille Lacs Lake received special attention this year and will be subject to the following restrictions:
•Walleye less than 18 inches or greater than 20 inches must be released immediately. One walleye more than 28 inches in length may be harvested. Possession limit is two fish, with only one more than the 28 inch limit.
•Northern pike between 33 and 40 inches must be released immediately. Possession limit is three fish, with only one over 40 inches. No spearing.
•Smallmouth bass between 17 and 20 inches must be released immediately. Possession limit is six, with only one over 20 inches.
•Tullibee (northern cisco) possession limit is 10 fish.
•Night closure: No one may fish for any species or possess fishing gear on the lake from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m., beginning 10 p.m. Monday, May 13, and ending at 12:01 a.m. June 10.
New regulations for 2013
•New angling license options and prices: youth ages 16 and 17 will need to purchase a license for $5; a 72-hour state resident license will cost $12; a three-year license, good for March 2013 through Feb 2016 costs $63.
•Some rough fish species may be taken from infested rivers and used as bait.
•New winter season dates for stream trout lakes inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
•Gasoline powered motors allowed while bow fishing.
•Fish house identification not required for occupied portable shelters.
•Seniors age 65-89 now need a spearing license.
•Walleye and northern pike taken from some waters may not be filleted prior to transport.
•When ice fishing, bait water does not need to be exchanged.
•It is unlawful to chum for fish.
•Importing live minnows into Minnesota is unlawful.
For a complete and more detailed list of new fishing regulations, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us.
For the full story, see the Thursday, May 9 print edition of the Times.