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DNR: Walleye Survival, Not Reproduction is the Problem in Mille Lacs

Updated: 08/29/2014 7:08 AM
Created: 08/28/2014 9:12 PM KSTP.com
By: Josh Rosenthal

The fish are biting on Mille Lacs Lake. Problem is, there just aren't that many of them.

"Had some good times out there, good experiences, and I want it to last," explained Bill Spooner, a fisherman whose spent nearly four decades on Mille Lacs Lake. He went to a Department of Natural Resources meeting in New Brighton on Thursday not only with a list of ideas, but also with a homemade fish release prototype he thinks could help.

"I'm just concerned about the lake for the future, for my family, and siblings and so forth," he said.

The DNR presented data showing that walleye reproduction in Mille Lacs is good. Walleye survival is not. That won't just affect anglers. It'll affect businesses too - like resorts, bait shops, and restaurants - if something isn't done.

"Oh it's critical," said DNR Region 2 Treaty Coordinator Tom Jones. "I mean, that's one of the, I think that's one of the DNR's top priorities right now is to try to tease out what's going on and recover the walleye."

That, however, is easier said than done. No one is exactly sure what to do, not even the DNR.

"There's a number of possibilities that we know about and we're looking at those and we're trying to find out if there's some piece of one of those aspects that we could affect that would turn things around," Jones said.

So fishermen like Spooner will keep throwing out ideas - like his homemade fish release -  just as long as the DNR is biting.


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