Group Files Lawsuit over Lake Mille Lacs Walleye Regulations

Updated: 04/24/2014 7:01 PM
Created: 04/24/2014 5:51 PM
By: Tom Durian

A group of fishermen and resort owners in the Lake Mille Lacs area have filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

They say the government agency didn't play by the rules when they made recent changes to how people fish for walleye on the lake.

The new rules released earlier this month, state among other things that Walleye cannot be fished at night. Normal night fishing is prohibited from a week after the season opener, now two weeks away, through mid-June. Now the ban will extend through the end of the season.

The DNR says this is to protect the safe harvest level and avoid going to full "catch and release" of walleye. Critics say the same rules don't apply for the local tribal fishermen, further drawing down the population of walleye in the lake.

Attorneys also say the state ignored the 1998 "Heritage" amendment to the state constitution that preserves certain rights of the people regarding the preservation of fish and wildlife for hunting and fishing.

The move is also bad for business according to locals. Twin Pines Resort owner Bill Eno estimates, 25 percent of his evening fish launch customers have changed or canceled their plans.

The DNR could not comment on the lawsuit that they received late Thursday afternoon. They will have to respond to the suit, which will then head to the court of appeals.


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