Halting stocking of muskies in Pelican Lake, Battle Lake, Maplewood State Park sought by Otter Tail County board

Muskies have been stocked over the years in Pelican Lake, West Battle Lake and in Beers Lake at Maplewood State Park.

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners, by resolution, has requested that the Minnesota DNR stop muskellunge stocking in Otter Tail County lakes for a five-year period or until such time that sufficient scientific evidence is presented that muskies do not adversely affect the ecosystem.

Stocking of muskies started several years ago and has taken place at West Battle Lake, Pelican Lake near Pelican Rapids and at Beers Lake in Maplewood State Park.

“We encourage the Minnesota DNR to assemble a diverse group of Otter Tail County stakeholders with the purpose of examining the existing scientific evidence,” said County Board Chairman Doug Huebsch of Perham. “If need be, the DNR can establish what additional research is
necessary to affirm that muskies stocking will not damage the environment.”

Previously, members of the Pelican Lake Property Owners Association (PLPOA) Sport Fishing Committee met with the five-person county board to discuss muskie stocking.

Dave Majkrzak of the PLPOA provided documentation.

His main points were:
1) public opinion against stocking muskies in non-native lakes,
2) disagreement with DNR statistics regarding muskie fishing,
3) results of reduced walleye, bluegill and ice house fishing on lakes since muskie stocking has occurred,
4) concern about the long-term effect on the natural ecology of the lakes where muskie stocking is taking place,
5) the small number of muskies fishermen, and
6) a desire to work towards family fishing for walleye, bluegill and crappies which increases tourism.

At previous public meetings, supporting more stocking of muskies has come from muskie fishing associations from communities such as Fargo and Alexandria. Many of those association members come to Otter Tail County to fish for muskies.