Mille Lacs regulations changed to boost walleye population

Outdoors: Rum River QDMA Banquet March 23

Regulations that will limit the harvest of walleye and potentially increase the harvest of northern pike and smallmouth bass will be implemented on Mille Lacs Lake this spring as part of a multi-year effort to rebuild the lake’s legendary walleye population, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

When the walleye season opens May 11, anglers will be able to keep walleye only between 18- and 20-inches or longer than 28 inches. All others must be immediately released. The possession limit is two, with only one longer than 28 inches.

Last year, anglers could not keep walleye 17- to 28-inches in length. They could keep up for four walleye shorter than 17 inches, with one longer than 28 inches allowed.

“We want Mille Lacs to continue to be a world-class walleye fishing destination,” said Dirk Peterson, DNR fisheries chief. “Currently, the size and structure of the walleye population isn’t where we want it. We are committed to remedying the situation as quickly as possible through regulations that are designed to increase survival of the lake’s younger and smaller walleye.”

The agency is particularly interested in conserving the lake’s large 2008 year-class of walleye because no strong year-class is coming up behind these fish despite ample spawning stock and good hatches of young fish. Fish in this year-class are 15- to 17-inches in length.

In addition to new walleye regulations, the lake’s 27- to 40-inch protected slot regulation for northern pike will be narrowed to a 33- to 40-inch protected slot, with only one pike longer than 40 inches. The possession limit is three.

Similarly, the smallmouth bass bag limit and slot limit will be broadened to allow for more harvest. The new regulation is a 17- to 20-inch protected slot. The possession limit is six, with only one longer than 20 inches in possession. Previously, all smallmouth bass less than 21 inches had to be immediately released and the possession limit was one.

Rum River QDMA Banquet March 23

The Rum River Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) will hold its annual banquet Saturday, March 23 at the Cambridge American Legion. Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. Dinner and membership ticket is $50 (youth or spouse additional dinner ticket is $25). General raffle, silent auction items and separate incentive drawings will fill the evening.

 
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