Mille Lacs Walleye Season to Close September 6

Estimated hooking mortality harvest exceeds quota by more than 16,000 pounds

After eight Chippewa bands expressed strong concerns, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will close the Mille Lacs Lake catch-and-release walleye season on Tuesday, September 6.

Warm water temperatures and high catch rates on Mille Lacs during July and August led to higher than expected hooking mortality rates. The state’s current estimated walleye harvest is 45,276 pounds, exceeding the original state quota by 16,676 pounds.

The state decided earlier this month to keep walleye fishing open out of concern for the impact of an early closure on the area economy. Catch-and-release-only regulations on Mille Lacs are successfully conserving the lake’s future spawning population of walleye.

The 2016 allocation established by the bands and the DNR in January of 2015, was 40,000 pounds; 28,600 for state-licensed anglers and 11,400 for tribal fishing. Eight Chippewa bands hold treaty fishing rights to Mille Lacs Lake.

In addition to its reputation for world-class walleye fishing, Mille Lacs has also become a premier location for northern pike, muskie, and small mouth bass fishing, and in September will host the Bassmaster Elite Series angler of the year championship.

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