Mar 14, 2024 | By: Lakeland News

MN DNR Sets Open Water Walleye Limits for Mille Lacs Lake, Upper Red Lake

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has set open water fishing regulations for both Mille Lacs Lake and Upper Red Lake. The upcoming open water season starts on May 11.

For Mille Lacs Lake, walleye fishing will be catch-and-release during the spring and early summer, with the potential to harvest a walleye 21-23 inches in length or greater than 28 inches starting on August 16.

“Despite poor ice conditions, anglers caught a lot of walleye this past fall and winter because those fish weren’t finding enough to eat,” said Brad Parsons, DNR Fisheries Section Manager, in a press release. “We need to adjust the open water season regulations to account for the active bite and for the likelihood of higher water temperatures this summer. Even with catch-and-release regulations, many fish die when water temperatures get too warm.”

For Upper Red Lake, there will be a three-walleye possession limit, with only one walleye longer than 17 inches allowed. Beginning on June 15, the limit will change to a four-walleye possession limit, with again only one walleye longer than 17 inches allowed.

“This fishing regulation is a reflection of the lake’s popularity, especially when fishing is good,” said Edie Evarts, DNR area fisheries supervisor for Bemidji, in a press release. “We’ve opted for a slightly more conservative bag limit for the early part of the summer to maintain the long-term health of the fishery and keep Upper Red Lake a premier angling destination.”

Winter harvest regulations for 2024-25 will be determined after the summer fishing season and completion of fall assessment netting.

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