Comment sought on Lake Superior trout recovery plan

A healthy recovery staged by wild lake trout in Lake Superior means these fish no longer need to be stocked in the lake, according to an updated management plan that covers the Minnesota waters of Lake Superior. The public can now comment on the plan until May 8.

“The successful lake trout recovery is a highlight of the plan,” said Cory Goldsworthy, Lake Superior fisheries supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Extensive public input informs this plan. It covers the years 2016 to 2025 and outlines management goals for sportfish populations, as well as steps to reach these goals.”

Three public open houses to gather input and answer questions are scheduled, including an April 19 session at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais from 6 to 8 p.m.

Comments may be submitted at www.mndnr.gov/lakesuperior or by contacting Goldsworthy at 218-302-3268 or cory.goldsworthy@state.mn.us.

Management actions recommended include:

* Discontinue lake trout stocking in Lake Superior waters near Duluth because wild fish populations have reached rehabilitation criteria recommended in the Lake Trout Restoration Plan for Lake Superior.

* Expand the zone where steelhead are maintained solely through natural reproduction and evaluate catch rates in the absence of supplemental stocking.

* Reconfigure kamloops stocking methods to employ direct stocking upstream in the Lester River.

* Increase commercial fishing opportunities for lake trout.

“The plan combines fisheries science with extensive public input from the 26-member Lake Superior Citizen’s Advisory Group,” Goldsworthy said. “The people who served on the group should be commended for their commitment to this project.”

The advisory group included representatives from interested groups, commercial harvesters, tribal and watershed interests, and others. The process began with a public conference in December 2014, and was followed by a series of seven advisory group meetings.

The plan, which will be finalized this summer, includes history and background on lake trout stocking and other items and is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries/lakesuperior/index.html or electronically by emailing cory.goldsworthy@state.mn.us.

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