Anglers who fish for walleye on Lake Mille Lacs will be able to keep larger walleye effective July 15 when a new mid-season regulation takes effect, according to the Minnesota Department of the Natural Resources (DNR).
The new regulation will require anglers to immediately release all walleye 20-28 inches in length. Currently, anglers must immediately release all walleye 18-28 inches in length.
Mille Lacs’ four-walleye limit remains in place. Only one of the four walleye an angler may keep can be longer than 28 inches.
The DNR broadened the harvest opportunity because angler harvest and hooking mortality is below the threshold necessary to maintain the current and more protective slot limit.
As of June 30, angler harvest of walleyes was less than half of the state’s annual allocation of 411,500 pounds.
This year, the DNR instituted a policy on a trial basis that calls for relaxing the walleye regulation when harvest and hooking mortality is low, restricting the regulation when the harvest and hooking mortality is high, and keeping the regulation the same when the harvest is not significantly high or low.
“This new change addresses the request of the Mille Lacs Lake Fisheries Input Group,” said Dirk Peterson, DNR fisheries section chief. “It provides a good balance of resource protection and angler opportunity, while at the same time pursuing the need for consistency in regulations from year to year.”
The walleye size limit will revert back to the 18-28 inch protected slot limit on Wednesday, Dec. 1, for the winter angling season. The possession limit will remain at four fish.