Mille Lacs walleye limit slashing looms

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 23, 2013 - 5:12 PM

A historically low walleye population is likely to prompt restrictions on the size and quantity of keepers at the popular lake.

Wednesday might be a day that lives in infamy around Lake Mille Lacs.

It's then that Department of Natural Resources fisheries managers will meet with a Mille Lacs citizen advisory group to discuss what likely will be highly restrictive walleye limits this summer on the big lake.

The annual meeting takes on special importance because the DNR has announced that Mille Lacs sport anglers will be limited to half their quota from a year ago, from 357,500 pounds to 178,750.

Chippewa netters also will see their spring fishing quota slashed in half, to 71,250 pounds.

The reason: The walleye population in the 200-square-mile lake has fallen to its lowest level in 40 years, according to DNR surveys.

Last year, Mille Lacs anglers harvested about 310,000 pounds of walleyes, including an estimated 136,000 pounds that died after being caught and released.

How, exactly, the DNR will propose to allow anglers to keep any Mille Lacs walleyes in the coming year and stay within their quota is a matter of intense speculation around the lake.

In past years, the DNR has given the advisory group various harvest options to see which gained the most favor.

Rumored this year is the possibility that the DNR could impose a two-walleye limit with a 2-inch harvest slot, perhaps 18 to 20 inches, 20 to 22 inches, or 22 to 24 inches.

Currently, four walleyes under 17 inches -- a fish size that is very difficult to find in the lake -- are allowed on Mille Lacs. A single trophy walleye longer than 28 inches also can be included in the four-fish limit.

The challenge with allowing larger fish to be kept lies with their weight: An 18-inch Mille Lacs walleye weighs about 2 pounds, with a 20-incher tipping the scales at not quite a pound more.

Even with a two-fish limit, allowing the bigger fish to be kept could mean the 178,750-pound quota would be reached before year's end.

That's why on Wednesday the DNR likely will propose to the input group that various angling-method restrictions also be imposed on the lake in the coming year.

One might be a summerlong ban on night fishing. Others could restrict hook types, or require that barbs on hooks be pinched back, making fish hooking more challenging.

For their part, the Chippewa reportedly are considering possible changes to the way they take fish from Mille Lacs. Last year the bands harvested 80,000 pounds of Mille Lacs walleyes, nearly all by netting during the spring spawn.

Many Mille Lacs anglers blame the nets for the lake's declining walleye numbers. But the DNR says other factors might play roles, including a smallmouth bass population that far exceeds historical norms, more northern pike in the lake and a recent explosion of zebra mussels.

Wednesday evening's meeting with the Mille Lacs Lake Input Group will be held at the Hazelton Township Hall.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota - T. May 6:05 PM
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez
NY Yankees - C. Capuano 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Buehrle
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Miami - T. Koehler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll
Texas - S. Baker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Houston 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close