Season To Remain Open Dispite Anglers Surpassing Mille Lacs Lake Walleye Quota
The most recent Mille Lacs Lake walleye harvest estimate indicates that anglers have surpassed the state’s 2016 walleye quota. The state, however, will not close the catch-and-release walleye season at this time, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced today.
According to DNR fisheries, analysis of summer creel survey data has shown that the catch-and-release-only regulations on Mille Lacs are successfully conserving the lake’s future spawning population of walleye.
At the end of June, state-licensed angler harvest was estimated at only 6,950 pounds. But due to increased angler activity, warm water temperatures and high catch rates, the estimated harvest increased rapidly in July, putting the most recent creel estimate at 37,922 pounds.
This year’s walleye harvest allocation was established in January at 40,000 pounds – 28,600 for state-licensed anglers and 11,400 for tribal fishing.
In 2016, the bands with Mille Lacs Lake treaty fishing rights modified their harvest methods to help conserve young walleye, and to date have not taken their entire allocation. The state also adjusted walleye regulations by implementing the catch-and-release restriction for the open-water season.
DNR fisheries biologists will continue to monitor creel survey results and water temperatures on Mille Lacs through the remainder of the open-water season to ensure conservation of the lake’s future spawning population of walleye.