New walleye regulation at Mille Lacs Lake; good fishing expected

Anglers who fish Mille Lacs Lake during the 2012 season will be able to keep walleye less than 17 inches in length, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. This is a change from last year’s regulation that allowed keeping of walleye less than 18 inches.

The 17- to 28-inch protected slot regulation is designed to keep the walleye harvest by state licensed anglers within the state’s allocation of safe harvest. One walleye 28 inches or longer may be included in the four-fish limit. The walleye season is scheduled to open Saturday, May 12.

“We expect anglers to do very well at Mille Lacs,” said Dirk Peterson, DNR Fisheries Section chief. “The winter bite was good. The open water bite should be very good, too.” He said the new regulation on Mille Lacs is identical to that of Rainy Lake and similar to regulations on several other large walleye lakes.

Mille Lacs Lake is being managed this year for a safe walleye harvest level of 500,000 pounds. The state angler allocation is 357,500 pounds. The tribal allocation is 142,500 pounds. The DNR met with the citizen-comprised Mille Lacs Fishery Input Group twice this past winter to discuss fishing issues.

Peterson reminds anglers that Mille Lacs also offers outstanding muskellunge and smallmouth bass fishing. The muskellunge season opens June 2. The smallmouth bass season on Mille Lacs opens May 26.

New required aquatic invasive species rules decal for boaters now available

A new required decal is now available for Minnesota boaters to help remind them of the state’s aquatic invasive species laws, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today.

The free decals are available from:

  • DNR offices.
  • Deputy registrar offices where licenses are sold.
  • Large sporting goods shops.
  • DNR watercraft inspectors and conservation officers.

The decals will also be included in envelopes with new and renewal watercraft licenses mailed from the DNR.

The decal should be attached to all types of watercraft including canoes, kayaks and duckboats before launching on, entering into, or operating on any Minnesota waters.

The two-piece, gray-and-black decals detail new state laws that watercraft users must follow in order to avoid spreading aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas.

The decal must be attached to the watercraft, but state law does not specify where that must occur. DNR officials recommend displaying it where it can be read and can be shown to an officer upon request. However, the decal does not need to be in view of the operator (as is the case with the state’s personal watercraft decal), and it does not need to be placed near the watercraft registration decals.

If a watercraft owner does not want to stick the decal on the boat because it is an antique wooden boat or other unique boat, the decal can be attached or laminated to an object like a luggage tag and kept in the boat.

There are two parts to the decal. Watercraft owners and operators must display the top portion of the decal on all watercraft prior to launching on, entering into, or operating on any waters of Minnesota.

The second portion of the decal is intended to be placed on the winch post of watercraft trailers or in another area to remind boaters to remove the boat’s drain plug when leaving a water access area as required by state law. It also reminds boaters to replace the plug before launching. This decal is not required by law.
There is no penalty in effect, but conservation officers can issue a warning for not displaying the decal. After Aug. 1, 2014, it will be a petty misdemeanor for boaters who fail to display the decal on their watercraft.

More information about aquatic invasive species laws is available at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/aquatic_qa.html.

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