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Mille Lacs Lake closed to walleye fishing for July

In addition to not targeting Minnesota's official state fish, anglers are banned from using most live baits for a month.
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MILLE LACS, Minn. — One of Minnesota's premiere fishing lakes is closed to walleye fishing for the month of July to protect the fall angling season.

The walleye fishing ban takes effect on Mille Lacs Lake July 1 and runs through the month, to reduce hooking mortality at a time when water temps are high. The decision was made by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries officials, after consulting with local anglers, businesses and the Mille Lacs Community in March. 

“Even with the good walleye fishing Mille Lacs anglers have experienced this year, we have not exceeded our allocation and we don’t expect to,” said Brad Parsons, the DNR’s fisheries section manager. “We know many people really enjoy fall walleye fishing and we heard from folks that this was their priority. So we made plans this spring for the July closure to reduce the potential for an unplanned closure in the fall.”

Fisheries officials say the closure is the result of record ice fishing pressure this past winter that resulted in a harvest of almost 30,000 pounds of walleye. July was selected for the closure because it’s generally the period when warm water temperatures cause the highest rates of hooking mortality.

In addition to not targeting walleye, Mille Lacs Lake anglers cannot use most live baits for any species in July. The exceptions are sucker minnows greater than 8 inches in length for targeting northern pike and muskellunge, and wax worms for panfish and perch.

Catch-and-release walleye fishing is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, Aug. 1, and continue through Monday, Nov. 30. Bag limits for the coming winter season have not yet been set.

The DNR reminds anglers that Mille Lacs continues to offer excellent northern pike, bass and muskellunge fishing.

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