Walleye fishing re-opens on Mille Lacs Lake
Catch-and-release walleye fishing and use of live bait will return to Mille Lacs Lake effective at 6 a.m. Friday, Aug. 11, continuing through Sept. 4.
"After an extended mid-season closure, we look forward to reopening the lake to catch-and-release walleye fishing," said Don Pereira, fisheries section chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, in a news release.
A prohibition on night fishing will remain in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Nov. 30. Regulations do allow anglers to fish for muskie and northern pike at night, but they may only use artificial lures longer than 8 inches or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches. Bowfishing for rough fish also is allowed at night, but possession of angling equipment is not allowed and only rough fish may be in possession.
The DNR announced in March its catch-and-release regulations and the July closure.
"Our goal is to have the longest fishing season possible while ensuring the conservation of the lake's future walleye spawning stock," DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in March. "We understand catch-and-release is a difficult option for anglers who enjoy a fish meal, but we are using everything in our management toolbox to ensure a healthy and plentiful walleye population for future fishing seasons."
At that time, the closure was supposed to be lifted July 27, but a few days prior to that date the DNR announced an extension of the closure after determining anglers had exceeded their harvest allocation.
As of July 31, state anglers had harvested 47,899 pounds of walleye, out of the state's conservation cap of 55,800 pounds. The DNR decided last month to allow for an additional 11,000 pounds of walleye to be harvested to extend the walleye season through Labor Day.
At that time, Landwehr and Pereira noted that allowing for additional catch-and-release fishing in August is essential for area anglers, businesses and Mille Lacs area communities. The decision to allow for this additional harvest was made with input from the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee.
"We deeply regret the hardships these new regulations will cause for anglers and business owners," Landwehr said in late July. "But they are essential to protect and enhance the future of walleye fishing in the lake for future generations. We will continue doing everything we can to understand the challenges facing the walleye fishery, and take whatever actions we can to resolve this very difficult situation."
To learn more about Mille Lacs Lake and its fishing opportunities, visit www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake.