Early End To Walleye Season Hurts Mille Lacs Businesses

Area Economy Built on Fishing

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Lake Mille Lacs has long been the crown jewel of Minnesota’s walleye fishing culture.

Fishermen flocking to the lake helped spawn a resort community and economy, based on the strength of the walleye harvest. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources decision to end walleye fishing on Mille Lacs has local business owners scrambling to stay afloat.

Kari Hough has owned a bait shop and launch in Garrison for 40 years.

Hough says the ban on walleye “sucks for business,” but he has built a strong northern pike fishing base over the years that’s helping him break even so far this season. 

Hough said Tuesday that fishing on the lake is great as long as anglers aren’t going after walleye.

The ban on walleye fishing started after the DNR said anglers had hooked 2,000 pounds more than the allotted limit for the lake.

The limit for 2015 was around 40,000 pounds with anglers being allowed around 26,000 pounds.

The remaining fish were set aside for multiple Ojibwe bands in the Mille Lacs area.

That 40,000 pound allotment is just 3 percent of the 1992 allowed walleye harvest of 1.2 million pounds of fish.


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