New Mississippi River Regulations In Effect April 1
Jordan Weeks, Mississippi River fisheries team supervisor, 608-386-0970, Jordan.Weeks@wisconsin.gov
March 13, 2020 at 3:46:56 pm
LA CROSSE, Wis. - New fishing regulations for the Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters of the Mississippi River will go into effect on April 1, 2020. The Wisconsin and Minnesota Departments of Natural Resources worked cooperatively to develop identical regulations for Pools 3 to 9 of the Mississippi River, down to the Minnesota border with Iowa. In Wisconsin-Iowa boundary waters, only walleye and sauger regulations will change. Anglers should also note that on the Minnesota side of the river, the regulations went into effect on March 1, 2020.
- In Pools 3 to 8, the daily bag limit for walleye and sauger will be four in total, with a 15-inch minimum length limit for walleye and none for sauger, and only one walleye or sauger over 20 inches allowed for harvest.
- In Pools 9 to 12, in Wisconsin waters and Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters, the daily bag limit for walleye and sauger will be six in total, with a 15-inch minimum length limit for walleye and none for sauger, a protected slot limit of 20 to 27 inches for walleye and only one walleye over 27 inches allowed for harvest. Anglers should be aware that Iowa boundary water regulations may differ from those in Wisconsin. Please consult the Iowa fishing regulations if you plan to fish in Iowa waters of the Mississippi River.
Wisconsin/Minnesota Boundary Waters Only, Pools 3-9
- For panfish in Pools 3 to 9, the daily bag limit for white and yellow bass will be reduced to 10 in total with no size limit, while the daily bag limit for sunfish, crappies and yellow perch will be reduced to 15 of each with no size limit. White bass are an important component of the overall harvest with high catch rates, but data shows that they are in decline and experience variable reproduction and recruitment. Panfish are one of the most harvested fish in Wisconsin. Large wintertime concentrations of panfish can be easily targeted and exploited, and reduced bag limits will protect the quality of the fishery.
- The daily bag limit for shovelnose sturgeon in Pools 3 to 9 has been reduced to three, with no size limit. Shovelnose sturgeon population status is uncertain, but the demand for roe and the similarity to small lake sturgeon, which are managed under restrictive regulations, could lead to overharvesting of both sturgeon species.
- The regulation for northern pike in Pools 3 to 9 will be a daily bag limit of three pike with only one over 30 inches. Although pike size structure is good, pike can be susceptible to loss of habitat and may concentrate in thermal refuges during summer and winter. Therefore, localized harvest pressure can reduce pike numbers, and a reduced bag limit is appropriate.
- For channel and flathead catfish in Pools 3 to 9, the daily bag limit will be 10 combined with only one catfish over 30 inches. The addition of one over the 30-inch size limit will provide additional protection to trophy-sized fish, particularly flathead catfish, and it may distribute the highly desired "large and trophy-sized fish" among a larger number of anglers.
These Mississippi River fishing regulations have not been updated for several decades. Although the Mississippi River is home to diverse fisheries that have proven to be resilient to channel alterations, pollution, watershed inputs and intense fishing pressure, some fish populations have exhibited signs of stress.
"These regulation changes will proactively protect fish in light of changing conditions on the Mississippi while providing the types of fishing opportunities that anglers want to see," said Jordan Weeks, DNR Mississippi River fisheries team supervisor.
To learn more about the new Wisconsin fishing regulations, visit the DNR website here.
Last Revised: Friday, March 13, 2020