AITKIN – The Minnesota DNR has announced winter anglers on Mille Lacs Lake will be allowed to keep a walleye this winter season.
This is the fifth consecutive season a harvest will be allowed on Mille Lacs. Starting Dec. 1, anglers will be allowed to keep one walleye between 21-23 inches or one fish longer than 28 inches – the same regulation as the last two winter seasons.
“This is good news for area businesses and people who fish the big lake,” said Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin. “Mille Lac Lake’s winter walleye season is critical to our local economy. With the increase in outdoor activities, fishing in particular, our area will again be a destination place for sportsmen from across Minnesota.
“While we enjoyed a nice warm up in early November. With less than 30 days to the walleye winter fishing opener, let’s hope for some good ice-making weather. The sooner the big lake freezes over, the better winter conditions will be for getting those fish houses out.”
Winter regulations are set after the DNR completes its annual fall netting assessment. The DNR’s 2020 assessment found that the walleye population has remained relatively stable over the past four years, having rebounded from population lows seen from 2012-16.
Harvest from the winter of 2020-21 will be counted toward the state’s annual share of walleye from Mille Lacs under the 1837 treaty. State anglers share harvest with eight Ojibwe tribes that have fishing rights under the treaty.
While the DNR indicates it is encouraged by the rebound in walleye abundance, the agency said it is taking a cautious approach to managing Mille Lacs’ walleye fishery. Survival of walleye to age 3 and older has been inconsistent in recent years, the DNR reports.