ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday provided details of walleyes anglers will be able to take home from Lake Mille Lacs in 2019 after several seasons of catch-and-release restrictions on the lake.
This year, anglers will be allowed to keep one walleye between 21 and 23 inches or one walleye over 28 inches from May 11 through Friday, May 31. Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, said this loosening of walleye restrictions is a “cautious” step in the right direction that will benefit anglers and the local economy.
“This is good news and indicates we continue to have a sustainable walleye fishery in Lake Mille Lacs,” Lueck said. “Extending the ability to keep at least one fish into the early portion of the open water season is a major step forward. I am pleased that the Minnesota DNR and the Ojibwe tribal officials have agreed to a harvest level that will allow people to be able take a fish home for the dinner table at least through the month of May.
“This decision, which some might consider a bit too cautious, continues to move us forward on the path of being able to keep fish throughout the entire season. While Mille Lacs has an abundance of other species for which one can fish, the walleye remains the real prize. The DNR’s decision represents a cautious loosening of the harvest, while still supporting continued growth in the walleye population. This action benefits both anglers and our local economy.”
In a news release, the DNR indicated it has decided to loosen walleye regulations on Mille Lacs due to “an improving walleye population bolstered by a 2013 year class of fish that has been protected by conservative fishing regulations. The 2013 year class is starting to produce young fish that appear to be surviving.”