Catch-and-release for walleyes again this summer on Mille Lacs

Anglers on Lake Mille Lacs will again see catch-and-release-only regulations this summer, the Minnesota DNR said in a news release Monday, March 19.

Last year, in addition to catch-and-release, the lake also saw mid-season closures. But according to the DNR, the lake’s spawning walleye population has improved from last year, so no mid-season closures are planned.

Similar to prior years, night closure for the 2018 walleye fishing season will be in effect on Mille Lacs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Monday, May 14. The night walleye closure remains in effect throughout the entire open-water season, which ends Nov. 30. The fishing season opens Saturday, May 12.

The catch-and-release summer season and night walleye closure are part of the DNR’s continued efforts to understand and improve the walleye population in Mille Lacs, the DNR said.

According to the release, a catch-and-release season should allow the state to account for a portion of the excess walleye kill from 2016 and 2017. With catch-and-release measures in place this summer, some of the fish caught and returned to the water may die, a condition known as hooking mortality, the DNR said. Fish that die as a result of hooking mortality are counted against the state’s harvest allocation.

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