Mille Lacs’ walleye limit might be cut from six to four
Garrison, Minn. The Lake Mille Lacs walleye limit would be cut
from six to four fish this year, and strict size limits would be
imposed, under a plan that the Department of Natural Resources is
considering. DNR officials met Wednesday night with about 40 Mille
Lacs area anglers and business owners to discuss this year’s
walleye limit on the big central Minnesota lake.
Under an agreement with eight Chippewa bands, sport anglers this
year can harvest no more than 300,000 pounds of walleyes from Lake
Mille Lacs. A better-than-average winter catch rate this year would
cut into the quota by a projected 60,000 pounds, twice the annual
DNR Commissioner Allen Garber said he will either accept or
modify the recommendation in a few days.
The citizen’s group, called the Lake Mille Lacs Fisheries Input
Group, was directed to discuss several options involving strict
size and bag limits. After a three-hour discussion, which was often
contentious, the group proposed:
Starting with the May 11 fishing opener, anglers would be able
to keep only fish between 14 and 16 inches, with one trophy longer
than 28 inches. The bag limit would be four fish.
Starting June 10, the harvest slot could be expanded to 14 to 17
inches, with the same trophy rule and four-fish bag limit. But DNR
officials would closely monitor the catch to see if anglers were
staying under the quota and open the slot if the harvest was within
projected limits. The change would coincide with the day the DNR
lifts the night-fishing ban.
Participants discussed banning night fishing on Mille Lacs all
together, but agreed to allow it this year. DNR computer models
estimate that the proposed harvest scenario would
yield 288,000 pounds of walleyes to sport anglers. However,
fisheries managers predict Mille Lacs anglers will be highly
successful again this summer. If too many walleyes are caught
early in the season, it’s possible the harvest slot will not be