Skip to main content

An additional 52 lakes will have regulations on sunfish this fishing season in the Minnesota DNR's attempt to protect and improve the size of the fish. 

These regulations are in response to angler-driven concerns over how small sunfish have gotten in the state, the DNR said. 

“This is the final batch of new sunfish regulations that will be part of the Quality Sunfish Initiative. We’re pleased to be at our overall goal of 200 to 250 lakes with these special regulations,” Dave Weitzel, Grand Rapids area fisheries supervisor, said in a news release. “We’ve had an impressive amount of public support all along for these regulations. Anglers spoke up that they want large sunfish in our lakes.”

With these new regulations, anglers can keep only the prescribed number of fish per day — it's five or 10 on most lakes with these special regulations — but can return the next day for another limit if they don't exceed the statewide inland water possession limit of 20 sunfish per angler.

This year, nearly all lakes with special sunfish regulations will use the same reduced daily limit approach where the statewide possession limit still applies, the DNR said.

"There are a few exceptions so anglers should read the regulations book carefully," the DNR said. 

The regulations on the 52 lakes that have been added to the list of lakes with special sunfish regulations go into effect March 1. The regulations are in the 2022 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet (starting on page 37) and on signs at water accesses. 

Here are the newly-added lakes:

(Note: limits on other fish may also apply, this list pertains only to sunfish regs)

  • Amelia Lake (Pope Co.) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Andrew Lake (Douglas) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Beuber Lake (Cass) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Blackwell Lake (Douglas) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Boy Lake and connected Swift Lake (Cass) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Crooked Lake and connected Welsh Lake (Cass) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Cross Lake and connected waters including Snake River (Pine) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Crow Wing Lake, 1st (Hubbard) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Crystal Lake (Otter Tail) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Elliot Lake (St. Louis) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Fish Lake Reservoir (St. Louis) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Garfield Lake (Hubbard) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Hubert Lake (Crow Wing) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Island Lake (Becker) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Island Lake near Longville (Cass) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Leven Lake (Pope) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Lida Lakes, north and south including Mud Lake (Otter Tail) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Little Turtle Lake near Marcell (Itasca) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Middle Lake (Otter Tail) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Mill Lake (Douglas) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Minnewaska Lake (Pope) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Minnie Belle Lake (Meeker) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Moon Lake (Douglas) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Moosehead Lake (Carlton) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Ox Yoke Lake (Cass) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Pokegama Lake near Grand Rapids (Itasca) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Pokegama Lake and connected waters including Snake River (Pope) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Red Rock Lake (Douglas) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Reno Lake (Pope) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Ripley Lake (Meeker) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Round Lake (Douglas) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Sanborn Lake (Cass) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Sand Lake and connected Talac and Sorenson Lakes (Becker) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Sand Lake including connected Birds Eye Lake, Little Sand Lake, Portage Lake, and Bowstring River (Itasca) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Sarah Lake (Polk) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Shakopee Lake (Mille Lacs) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Shields Lake (Rice) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Strand Lake (St. Louis) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Sugar Lake (Cass) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Trelipe Lake, lower (Cass) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Trelipe Lake, upper (Cass) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Turtle Lake (Becker) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Venstrom Lake (Otter Tail) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Vermillion Lake (Cass) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Vermont Lake (Douglas) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Villard Lake (Pope) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Washington Lake (Le Sueur) – Sunfish daily limit 10
  • Whiteface Reservoir (St. Louis) – Sunfish daily limit 5
  • Wild Rice Reservoir (St. Louis) – Sunfish daily limit 5

The DNR says the regulations are designed with sunfish biology in mind:

"Sunfish spawn in large nesting colonies during the spring and early summer. Parental male sunfish build and defend nests. Females select a male, lay eggs, and leave the eggs for the male to protect. The largest sunfish often get the best spawning sites. These nest-building male sunfish play an important role in regulating the population’s size structure.

"When anglers keep the largest sunfish, the remaining small males don’t need to compete with large males to spawn. With the large males gone, the small males devote less energy to growing, mature and spawn at smaller sizes, and fail to grow to the size preferred by anglers."

Sunfish is a generic name for fish that include bluegill, pumpkinseed, green sunfish, orange-spotted sunfish, longer, warmouth and their hybrids, the DNR says. 

On Tuesday, the DNR also announced other new regulations for 2022. They include: 

— Removing the experimental 17-inch minimum length for walleye on Clear Lake in Washington County. The statewide regulation is now in effect. 

— Crappie limit changes for eight lakes, including some that are getting new sunfish limits. 

— The sunfish daily limit on Ox Yoke and Sanborn lakes in Cass County has been reduced from 10 to five after the higher limit "failed to meet management objectives," the DNR said. 

The 2022 fishing regulations can be found online here or anywhere fishing licenses are sold. 

Next Up

Mystic Lake

Charges: Man attacked Mystic Lake security with 2x4

A chaotic scene unfolded after the man approached the bell stand late Friday.

unnamed

SWAT presence in Eagan neighborhood Tuesday morning

There's a developing story out of Eagan.

minneapolis-ge69a86d93_1280

Comedian claims hotel bed bug ruined his Twin Cities visit

The Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Minneapolis states otherwise.

Lindahl lawsuit

Kris Lindahl suing realtor, accusing him of copying arms out pose

The real estate agent is accused of breach of contract and copyright infringement.

Screen Shot 2022-08-16 at 8.44.12 AM

Pair wanted for questioning for assault, property crimes in Hugo

Surveillance footage was released by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Screen Shot 2022-08-11 at 2.49.44 PM

15,000 Minnesota nurses 'overwhelmingly' authorize strike

Overworked and underpaid, the Minnesota Nurses Association is ready to strike.

School dinners lunch

Minnesota to offer free school meals to 90,000 extra students

Gov. Tim Walz, who is facing re-election in November, announced the measure on Monday.

motorcycle

Minneapolis man dies from injuries days after motorcycle pileup

The 69-year-old died after four days at Regions Hospital.

Related

dnr trout stocking helicopter

DNR uses a helicopter to more efficiently stock lakes with trout

In the past, the DNR used airplanes to stock remote lakes with fish, but the survival rate of the fish was only 85%.

Sunfish

Minnesota DNR tells anglers: Only eat small sunfish

They're asking anglers to put larger ones back in the water.

ice fishing

DNR: Use caution as ice conditions still vary on Minnesota lakes

The warm weather this month has made the quality of ice on some lakes a bit sketchy.

National Loon Center

Look inside the National Loon Center planned for Crosslake, MN

The three-story center is designed to show visitors life from a loons' point-of-view.

Lake Mille Lacs

DNR hold on walleye fishing in Mille Lacs Lake ends Aug. 1

Beginning Aug. 1, anglers can again fish for walleyes with live bait at Mille Lacs Lake.

mn dnr - boat launch - low water levels

DNR warns boaters of low water levels on Minnesota lakes

The low levels are due to a lack of rainfall recently in Minnesota.

St. Paul park photo

St. Paul tops Minneapolis, both top 5 overall parks systems in US

St. Paul ranked second overall, while Minneapolis came in fifth, according to the latest rankings by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land.