Another Catch and Release Year for Walleye on Mille Lacs
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - For a second straight year, anglers trying their luck on Mille Lacs Lake won’t be able to bring home any walleye.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced it will enforce catch-and-release only regulations during the 2017 walleye season on Mille Lacs, which begins May 13th and is scheduled to run through September 4th.
The DNR will also impose a 21-day walleye fishing closure on Mille Lacs Lake in July as part of an effort to rebuild the lake’s walleye population. During the closure, anglers will be able to fish for other species in Mille Lacs Lake, but only with artificial bait and lures. Officials say the closure was approved after a busy winter season pushed the harvest of walleye from Mille Lacs higher-than-expected.
“The plan is for this closure to coincide with the hottest part of the summer when released fish are vulnerable to stress,” Don Pereira, DNR fisheries section chief. explained. “Warm water combined with July’s higher fishing pressure means that more fish die – even those that are caught and returned to the water.”
The deaths of fish after they were caught and released is referred to as hooking mortality and DNR officials say hooking mortality accounted for over half of the state’s walleye harvest allocation for the entire 2016 open water season.