1 walleye limit on Mille Lacs this spring, fall

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has set a limit of one walleye per angler this spring and fall on Mille Lacs Lake.

Tuesday, the DNR announced that anglers will be able to harvest one walleye between 21 and 23 inches, or one longer than 28 inches, from May 14 through May 30. The summer will then be catch-and-release, with an early July closure scheduled to help reduce hooking mortality.

The DNR says anglers will have another one-fish limit from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30.

“We must continue to manage state harvest very carefully on Mille Lacs so we can provide as much angling opportunity as prudent while protecting the opportunities for the future,” Brad Parsons, the DNR’s fisheries section manager, said. “Two recent year classes show below average numbers of walleye, which means we need to factor in that fewer fish than normal will mature into spawning adults during the next few years.”

According to the DNR, the fall catch rate for walleye in 2018 and 2019 didn’t drop as dramatically as past years. However, the drops still signaled the potential need for more conservative walleye harvest regulations in future years.

Officials say Mille Lacs fishing hours will run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for all species after opening weekend. Then, starting June 4, muskie and northern pike anglers using artificial lures or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches can fish after 10 p.m.

State and Ojibwe band leaders have agreed to a total walleye harvest of 135,000 pounds for this year, with 80,300 pounds of that for state anglers.

While DNR officials are closely watching walleye population levels on Mille Lacs, they say the northern pike population is healthy, even encouraging anglers to harvest those under 30 inches as another option for a meal of fish.

More information on Mille Lacs Lake is available online.