Mille Lacs walleye fishing: 1 keeper in May, C&R starting in June
Anglers on Lake Mille Lacs will be able to keep walleye during open-water fishing for the first time since 2015, the Minnesota DNR said in a news release Tuesday, March 12.
Mille Lacs anglers will be able to keep one walleye between 21 and 23 inches or one walleye over 28 inches from Saturday, May 11, through Friday, May 31.
Similar to recent years, a night closure for the 2019 walleye fishing season will be in effect on Mille Lacs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Monday, May 13. The night walleye closure will remain in effect throughout the entire open-water season, which ends Nov. 30.
Catch-and-release fishing for walleye begins Saturday, June 1, and other than the night closure, there are no planned closures for walleye fishing this season.
The DNR is able to allow this limited harvest opportunity because of an improving walleye population bolstered by a 2013 year class of fish that has been protected by conservative fishing regulations, the DNR said. The 2013 year class is starting to produce young fish that appear to be surviving.
The DNR expects a strong increase in the number of anglers fishing during the period when walleye harvest is allowed. Allowing the harvest during May, when water temperatures are lower, will limit the mortality of released walleye associated with this increase in pressure. Both harvested fish and those that die as a result of being caught and released are counted against the state’s walleye harvest allocation.
According to the DNR, the Mille Lacs walleye population has undergone many changes over the past two decades that have coincided with significant aquatic system changes including increased water clarity and decreased walleye productivity; the introduction of zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny water fleas; a changing zooplankton community that may be altering the aquatic food web; and declines in certain forage species, including tullibee.
More information about fishing on Mille Lacs, ongoing DNR management and research, and Mille Lacs area recreation opportunities is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/millelacslake.