(NNCNOW.com) According to a news release from the Minnesota DNR, a number of river reaches in northwestern Minnesota will be closed to fishing when the fishing opener arrives May 11. Most closures will extend through midnight May 17 and are necessary to protect concentrations of walleye, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
According to the news release:
The closures, due to late ice cover, include the following portions of the Mississippi, Tamarac, Clearwater, Turtle and other rivers:
Closed through May 17
• Blackduck River – Beltrami County – County Road 32 north to Red Lake Reservation boundary.
• Clearwater River – Clearwater County – below Clearwater Lake Dam for 900 feet.
• Long Lake – Hubbard County – below the inlet culvert south of State Highway 34.
• Mississippi River – Beltrami County – below Otter Tail Power Dam to Big Wolf Lake.
• Otter Tail River – Becker County – below Highway 10 culvert near Frazee.
• Pelican River – Becker County – below Bucks Mill Dam to Buck Lake.
• Shotley Brook – Beltrami County – State Highway 72 to Upper Red Lake.
• Tamarac River – Beltrami County – from Upper Red Lake upstream to Beltrami-Koochiching county line.
• Turtle River – Beltrami County – below Three Island Dam to Turtle River Lake.
Closed May 9 until further notice
• Toad River – Otter Tail County – inlet to Big Pine Lake upstream to County Road 13.
Closed through May 24
• Unnamed water – Hubbard County – connection between Lake Emma and Big Sand Lake.
No fishing will be allowed during these periods in the specified areas. Signs will be posted at access points within the closed areas.
"The closures are necessary to protect adult walleye that have concentrated around historic spawning sites," said Henry Drewes, DNR Northwest Region fisheries manager. "It's always a difficult decision to close the areas and restrict recreation. Our first responsibility is to the long-term health of the fishery."
This is the first time since 2008 that so many locations have been closed on the opener, Drewes said. Prior to that, extensive closures occurred in 1996 and 1997. There are likely to be concentrations of spawning fish in other areas and anglers are encouraged to practice catch-and-release.
Although closed to fishing, there are no restrictions on boat travel through these areas.