Winter Walleye Harvest Limit Set in Mille Lacs

Anglers will have a walleye fishing season this winter on Lake Mille Lacs after the state and tribal biologists agreed on a limit of how many pounds can be taken during the ice fishing season. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that the DNR and state biologists set the winter harvest cap at 5,000 pounds.   Last year’s winter limit was 3,100 pounds. 

The DNR and the Chippewa bands reached the agreement due to fish assessment data from September showing that pounds of spawning-age walleye and numbers of walleye from the 2013 year class were above established benchmarks. 

“This decision allows anglers and businesses to look forward to some harvest opportunity during the upcoming winter angling season that beings Dec. 1,” said Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief, “We’ll announce a final decision about the details of the ice fishing season by the last week of October, following an October 21 meeting with the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee.”

Biologists with the DNR will examine the potential effects of various fishing regulation alternatives for discussion with the committee.  Results of those analyses and input from the advisory committee will be considered in the final decision for this winter’s fishing season. 

Officials say they will monitor creel data every two weeks during the winter and assess in January whether they need to adjust the state’s harvest level for the rest of the winter to stay under 5,000 pounds. 

Earlier this summer, the DNR shut down Lake Mille Lacs to walleye fishing after anglers exceeded the quota of 28,600. 

The DNR announced at that time it was taking several steps to improve the walleye population in the lake. 

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