ST. PAUL – State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, is voicing his support of the recently released winter walleye regulations for Mille Lacs Lake which allow anglers to keep one walleye between 21-23 inches, or one fish over 28 inches.
The regulation applies starting Dec. 1 and is based on the Department of Natural Resources’ overall assessment of the health of the lake with a major emphasis on the recently completed fall walleye survey.
“I am pleased to see the DNR is supporting a reasonable harvest of walleyes for this winter,” Lueck said. “I am encouraged with the progress the big lake is making in living up to its reputation as Minnesota’s best walleye lake. It’s important for individual anglers that love to fish the lake and provides a much needed shot in the arm for our local communities around the lake.”
According to the results of the 2018 population estimate, the abundance of walleye 14 inches and longer in the lake was 727,000 fish. This is up significantly from the population estimates in 2013 and 2014, both of which were around 250,000 fish.
The fall gill net assessment also showed that the total pounds of mature walleye sampled increased significantly from 18.9 pounds per net last year to 27.7 pounds per net this year, mostly due to an increase in mature females. Therefore, the DNR selected a regulation that allows anglers to keep walleye from 21-23 inches, which focuses the harvest on mature female fish.
The DNR indicates the population of mature female walleye can sustain harvest because its numbers are sufficient to ensure good production of fry in the spring.
Complete winter regulation information for Mille Lacs is available at mndnr.gov/millelacslake.