Net Marking Regulations - Trap Nets and Gill Nets

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Section 1. Trap Net Marking Requirements

1.01 Commencing in 2002, all trap nets must be marked with a staff buoy on both the pot and the lead anchor with at least five (5) feet exposed above the surface of the water. The lead anchor (shoreward) staff buoy shall have two (2) flags (red or orange on top and black on the bottom) no less than twelve (12) inches by twelve (12) inches. The pot (lakeward) staff buoy shall have one (1) red or orange flag no less than twelve (12) inches by twelve (12) inches bearing the license number of the fisher and affixed to the top of the staff. In addition, the wings, inside lead and the king anchor shall be marked with a red or orange float not less than one (1) gallon in size.


  • Long lead net that diverts fish into an enclosure (heart) and through a tunnel into a pot (Whitefish naturally lead into pot).
  • The net has a 1000 foot 14 inch stretched mesh lead.
  • Submerged closed-top hearts and pots supported by floats, frames, and anchors.
  • Trap nets have wing nets leading into a V-shaped heart and box-shaped pot.
  • Trap Nets typically fish in water shallower than 90 feet.
  • Shallow water trap net-lead averages 15 ft or less in depth; and the pot 2 -15 ft in depth and 6-15 ft in length.
  • Deep water trap net-lead averages 35 ft or more in depth; and the pot averages 20-40 ft in depth and length.
  • Trap Nets often have a flag marker buoy or float at the lead end toward shore and the main anchor end lakeward.
  • The pot always has a flag marker buoy.
  • Floats may also be present at the ends of the wings


  • Contains floats along the top and weights on the bottom
    (Stands like a fence along the bottom, but can also be suspended)
  • Fish too big to swim through the netting get caught by the gills when they try to back out
  • Generally set perpendicular to shore and strung end to end in gangs
  • Single net varies in depth from 6 to 20 ft and length from 100 to 400 ft
  • Handled in boxes, 3 to 5 nets or 1200 to 1800 ft per box
  • United end to end to form gangs and may reach 3 to 5 miles in length
  • Large mesh 4 to 5 inches stretched measure for whitefish, trout, and walleye
  • Small mesh 2 3/8 to 3 inches for lake herring, chubs, yellow perch, and round whitefish
  • Bait nets 1 to 2 inches for bait
  • Gill nets have been set in depths greater than 700 feet