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Trout stocking policy will be changed in Cook County

DNR trout stocking policy to change
DNR trout stocking policy to change

In an attempt to cut costs, the Minnesota Department of Natural resources will change its policy of stocking rainbow trout, brook trout and brown trout in inland trout lakes across Northeastern Minnesota. According to Tim Goeman, DNR regional fisheries supervisor at Grand Rapids, the savings could total about $40,000 to $50,000 per year.

“We’re feeling the squeeze like many companies and entities,” Goeman said.

According to Grand Marais Area Fisheries Supervisor Steve Persons, the biggest local change will be stocking Trout Lake on the Gunflint Trail. Persons said they will cut back on the number of yearling rainbows stocked in spring but almost double the number of fingerlings they stock in the fall. He said the fingerlings seem to adapt better over time than the catchable-sized yearlings.

“Fingerlings are less expensive to raise and transport,” said Persons. He added that all of the fingerlings would be transported to Cook County from the DNR’s Spire Valley hatchery in southeast Minnesota. He said their plan is to maintain the existing trout fishery while saving money. Funding for fisheries programs has remained static for years, he commented.

On Monday DNR fisheries officials announced the French River Hatchery near Duluth will significantly reduce the number of Kamloops rainbow trout it produces. Some Kamloops trout had been used in local stocking programs.

In addition to Trout Lake, 10 other lakes will see changes to in stocking plans. Three others are under consideration for changes in trout management.

Mulligan Lake, north of the Brule River will no longer be stocked. Bingshick off the Kekekabec will be stocked every other year with increased numbers of brook trout fingerlings. This will also be true for Gadwall, Gogebic and Lima lakes.

Moose Horn lake will get every other year splake stocking. Muskeg will have every other year rainbow stocking. Splake stocking will be reduced on Musquash. Trestle Pine Lake will see rainbows discontinued, but increases in splake. Portage Lake will get splak fingerlings stocked every other year.

Three lakes Persons would like to receive public input on are Extortion Lake, Pike Mountain Lake and Ester Lake, where increased brook trout stocking is being considered.