Legacy of Hunting and Trapping on the North Shore

View Edit Clone The brutal joys of netting fish on the Gunflint Trail

Recreational netting for whitefish and cisco is currently open on designated lakes in Cook County. There are six lakes that open to netting in the late fall and early portion of the winter. Three of these lakes, Brule, Caribou and East Pike, are found entirely within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The three other lakes – Greenwood, Poplar and Devil Track – are more commonly used for whitefish and cisco netting due to their easy access and the fact motors can be used to place and check nets.

Whitefish and cisco sport netting is open to Minnesota residents only. Anyone who is a resident of the state and possesses a fishing license can simply add on the tag to net whitefish and cisco on these designated lakes for the low cost of $10 per year. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports that a total of about 700 Minnesotans participate annually, with 50 or so engaging in the activity in Cook County each year.

Whitefish netting schedules are based on expected water temperatures for Devil Track, Poplar and Greenwood. As the water temperature cools, game fish head to deeper water while whitefish come to shallow water for fall spawning.

The DNR allows netting when there is little chance that game fish populations would be negatively impacted by recreational netting in shallow water. Game fish, including walleye, northern pike, lake trout or smallmouth, that are accidentally taken in nets must be returned to the water immediately.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs recently ventured across the choppy waters of Devil Track Lake with local residents Joey Pederson and Matt Nesheim as they checked their fishing nets for the final time of the 2019 season. The audio posted below shares details from their successful outing. Click on the photo above to see more images from their outing.

This story was funded in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.