For the first time ever on Mille Lacs, only artificial bait will be allowed this summer for walleye fishing, and all walleyes must be released beginning with the season’s first day, reports Star Tribune.
The DNR made the announcements Monday morning in a media conference call.
DNR fisheries chief Don Pereira said that the chance of closing MIlle Lacs to walleye fishing is greater this year than it was last summer, when walleye fishing on Mille Lacs was abruptly ended in early August after the season’s harvest quota was met.
“Even with our catch-and-release approach, the risk (of closing the season early) remains considerable,” Pereira said.
“A catch-and-release walleye season allows us to protect future spawners yet acknowledges the desire that fishing remain open,” added Pereira. “Not allowing harvest is a difficult decision but it provides our best option.”
From May 14 (opening day) to Thursday, December 1, anglers targeting walleye must use artificial bait and immediately release all walleye caught. Meanwhile, anglers targeting northern pike and muskies may possess and use sucker minnows longer than eight inches. But all other anglers must not possess any other bait that is live, dead, frozen or processed.
[H/T Star Tribune]