The Department of Natural Resources is opening lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to trout anglers two weeks earlier than usual.
The DNR has revised the opening date for the seasons: Now, both lake trout and stream trout seasons open on the same day, Saturday, Dec. 29.
Regional fisheries manager Tim Goeman said the change comes in response to direction from the Legislature to simplify reguations.
"We're trying to make things simpler," he said. "Sometimes it doesn't seem that way, but I think this is a step toward making it simpler. So trout seasons, whether lake trout or stream trout, all open and close on the same dates within the Boundary Waters."
For lakes outside the Boundary Waters and lakes that straddle the wilderness, the trout season opens on Jan. 12.
Winter catch-and-release trout season in southeastern Minnesota runs January through March.
Goeman said the more accessible lakes benefit from a longer period of protection.
"Lakes outside the Boundary Waters are a little easier to access," he said. "A couple extra weeks of fishing pressure there is probably not a good thing, so they open just a little later."
All the trout seasons in the region close on March 31.
The DNR also reminds anglers to follow restrictions on bait use to prevent the spread of VHS, a deadly fish virus.
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