DNR sets Mille Lacs winter walleye limit

Winter walleye season set for Mille Lacs

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has set winter fishing limits on one of the state's most popular and heavily-fished lakes.

On Monday the agency announced that ice anglers can keep one walleye between 18 and 20 inches, or one longer than 28 inches, during the season running from December 1 to February 28. Those anglers can also keep five northern pike, with one fish longer than 30 inches allowed. That limit of five northern is down from 10 last year.

The decision was made by the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee, made up of 17 individuals whose interests include local business and tourism, tribal and academic affairs, and local county officials.

"The clear consensus among committee members was to implement a conservative regulation allowing fishing to continue throughout the winter without the risk of closure," said Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief. "We believe this regulation meets that criteria."

If the winter walleye harvest approaches or tops the 5,000 pound cap on walleye, the DNR will move to catch and release.

Tribal biologists and the DNR agreed Oct. 15 to set the winter harvest cap for state anglers at 5,000 pounds after September fish assessment data showed that pounds of spawning-age walleye and numbers of walleye from the 2013 year class were above established benchmarks.

"The committee stressed members' support for a conservative management strategy that helps ensure the future health of the lake," Pereira said. "The DNR fully supports that approach."


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