Agency proposes dropping Square Lake trout fishing regulations

            The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) East Metro Fisheries is proposing to drop special fishing regulations on Square Lake. The topic will be discussed at an upcoming input meeting.

Since the 1990s, current regulations on Square Lake limit trout fishing to catch-and-release only during the first four weeks of the open water season and during October. The DNR is also proposing increasing the current two-fish bag limit to a five-fish limit. The new proposed season would follow the statewide regulations.

“What we’re finding with these regulations is that there aren’t as many people fishing and harvesting the trout,” said Jerry Johnson, DNR East Metro Fisheries supervisor.

The Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed district has expressed concerns that the trout stocking in Square Lake might contribute to decreased water clarity.

What Johnson says the DNR is finding is that there is a link between decline of water clarity and the concentration of zooplankton. If more trout eat more zooplankton it results in a decline of water clarity with an increase in algae in the water.

Johnson said there is a second component to this input meeting, which is a request from the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District that trout stocking in Square lake be suspended for three years to conduct studies on the relationship between trout and water quality. The DNR has not taken a position on this request at this time.

“We’re waiting to get much more information to figure out why this is occurring and we will discuss a three-year suspension, discuss the study, and evaluate the plan at the meeting.” Johnson said.

The input meeting is from 6-7:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 in lower level room 13 of the Washington County Government Center at 14949 62nd St. N in Stillwater.